A West St. Paul woman who admitted that she strangled her aunt in 2017 was sentenced Friday in Dakota County District Court to 21 years and 9 months in prison.

Divina M. Sulentich, 41, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Mary S. Sulentich on Aug. 29. She was sentenced on Friday by Judge David Knutson.

Sulentich told police that she had moved into her 60-year-old aunt's apartment in the 1500 block of Bellows Street to help out after her aunt's knee surgery.

In July 2017, a few months after she moved in, the two got into a fight over purchasing illegal narcotic painkillers, according to the charges.

Divina Sulentich told police that she grabbed her aunt by the neck and shoulders, then shook her. Mary Sulentich then bit her niece on the upper right arm and chest.

The two fell to a bed while struggling, and Divina Sulentich straddled her aunt and squeezed her neck.

Divina Sulentich remained in the apartment throughout the next day before fleeing in her aunt's vehicle without reporting the death.

"This was a domestic-related assault that senselessly resulted in the loss of a life in our community," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release. "We are pleased to have brought Divina Sulentich to justice for this violent crime.

Greg Stanley