A St. Paul woman pleaded guilty Friday to fatally stabbing her boyfriend in May and sleeping next to his body until someone else called police the next morning.
Sherry A. Henderson, 48, testified in Ramsey County District Court that she was so intoxicated she can't recall picking up the knife and stabbing Addison Hillard, but that she knows she killed him in their apartment on May 29.
"I had to have picked [the knife] up," said Henderson. "I was the only one in there." She testified that she was "really intoxicated" and only remembered events before and after the stabbing.
Henderson pleaded guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, a charge that was added to her case last week. An initial charge of intentional second-degree murder will be dismissed as part of her plea deal.
Henderson's plea deal agrees to the high end of sentencing guidelines for her crime and background — 16½ years. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 12.
Henderson testified that on the evening of the stabbing, she, Hillard and a female friend were drinking beer and vodka in the couple's apartment in the 200 block of Birmingham Street. Henderson and Hillard, 58, argued about the friend after she left.
"We were just bickering back and forth about her coming in and out of the house," Henderson said.
Henderson said she didn't remember getting the knife. Her attorney, Cullin Smith, said that she experienced a "blackout period" that evening, but in pleading guilty, would not claim an involuntary intoxication defense, or self-defense.
Under questioning by Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Rachel Kraker, Henderson admitted that on a previous occasion she had wielded a knife at Hillard, who cut his hand.
Henderson said that the night of the stabbing, she "came to" in the kitchen and saw blood on both of their shirts and a wound in Hillard's chest. She told the court that she threw both shirts in the trash and took the trash outside to a dumpster, and then cleaned up Hillard.
"I got a pillow, 'cause I couldn't pick him up, and I didn't want him on the floor," Henderson said. "So I laid one pillow and I covered him up because he was cold. I laid next to him and cuddled him."
Hillard suffered a 5½-inch stab wound that punctured his lung and pulmonary artery.