A South Charleston woman could spend the next 15 years in prison for killing her husband with a knife during an argument.
Amanda Belcher, 35, previously admitted that she killed Jimmy Belcher on May 20, 2018. She pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on April 23, the day her trial on a murder charge was supposed to begin.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman’s 15-year sentence was the longest allowed under the manslaughter charge.
Amanda Belcher said she wished she could take back what she did. The family of her late husband said their lives would never be the same.
“When asked how it affected my family’s life and my life — how hasn’t it?” said his former stepdaughter, Tina Belcher Mollohan. “That’s the only answer I can give is, how hasn’t it? In every way, it has affected our lives.”
Kaufman on Tuesday gave Amanda Belcher credit for time she served at South Central Regional Jail, a little more than 15 months, while she waited for her case to progress through circuit court. She will be eligible for parole in a little more than 3 1/2 years.
Belcher said she would work to undo the pain she’d caused her family, including her four children, and that of her husband’s family.
“I have to live with the guilt that his children and his grandchildren will grow up without him, that his mother had to bury her son, which no parent should have to do,” Belcher said. “It weighs heavily on my mind that this will affect his family and children for the rest of their lives.”
Her attorneys, Dan Holstein and Michael Taylor, argued for Belcher to serve her sentence on home confinement while receiving drug treatment, drug testing and psychiatric treatment. If the judge sentenced her to jail, Holstein said, a 5-year sentence would be enough.
“Everyone has suffered through this,” Holstein said. “In these types of cases, no one wins.”
Assistant Kanawha Prosecuting Attorney J.C. MacCallum asked Kaufman for the maximum sentence, saying the couple was in an argument, not a physical fight, when Amanda Belcher killed her husband.
“Something bad didn’t have to happen,” MacCallum said. “It did because she chose it. ... She was angry, and that’s what she did.”
Court records indicate police were called to the couple’s home along Ballard Road, near South Charleston, on May 20, 2018. During the plea hearing in April, her lawyer said that Amanda Belcher and her children told authorities that Jimmy Belcher hit her several times that day.
Holstein said that when the last argument started, Amanda Belcher called 911 using the couple’s home phone, and her husband broke the phone. After sending their children to a neighbor’s house, she called 911 with a mobile phone. When dispatchers called her back, they could hear her husband yelling in the background, Holstein said.
Officers arrived to the Belchers’ home two minutes after that final phone call, and they found Jimmy Belcher, 45, lying in the yard, dead from a stab wound to his neck, Holstein said.
But on Tuesday, MacCallum, the prosecutor, said Amanda Belcher talked to a 911 dispatcher from outside the couple’s home, then went back inside and stabbed Jimmy Belcher while he sat in a chair in their bedroom.
After Kaufman handed down the sentence, Amanda Belcher walked out of the courtroom with her hands and feet shackled. A man sitting with Belcher’s family yelled, “Have fun” as she left the courtroom.