Donald Southworth sentenced to 15 years in wife's 2010 slaying

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Donald Southworth was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison in the 2010 beating death of his wife.

Southworth, whose murder conviction was overturned nearly two years ago by the Kentucky Supreme Court, entered an Alford plea to a charge of first-degree manslaughter during a hearing last month in Fayette Circuit Court. An Alford plea allows a defendant to plead guilty to the crime but still maintain his or her innocence.

A Fayette Circuit Court jury found the 53-year-old Lexington man guilty of murder in 2012. That charge stemmed from the death of his wife Umi Southworth, who was found naked and brutally beaten behind their home in June 2010. She died the following day in the hospital.

The Supreme Court’s March 2014 decision to overturn Southworth’s murder conviction revolved around testimony about his sexual history.

The high court said it overturned the conviction because the commonwealth's attorney gave prejudicial proof that Southworth did an unusual sexual act once before, without proving first that the act also happened in this murder case.

Prosecutors recommended a 15-year sentence.



 

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