Stephanie Lawson Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter in Death of Karen Jordan

Stephanie Lawson, 44, pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of 49-year-old Karen Jordan on August 27, 2011.

Lawson faces up to 30 years in prison. She was initially charged with first-degree murder.

In a preliminary hearing held in October 2011, prosecutors argued that Lawson stabbed Jordan in an argument over a $20 debt while she was at Jordan’s apartment playing cards.

According to the proffer of facts, on August 27, 2011 at approximately 9:40 p.m., Lawson went Jordan’s apartment with her boyfriend. Along with Jordan’s significant other, the four played cards and drank alcohol.

At some point, Lawson and Jordan got into a “heated” argument that ended with Lawson stabbing Jordan once in the neck. Jordan had no weapon at the time. Documents say that Lawson later told police Jordan threatened to kill her.

“[Lawson] felt threatened and grabbed a knife,” Lawson’s defense attorney said at Friday’s hearing. “When [Jordan] came at her in a menacing manner she stabbed her in the neck.”

In accepting the plea, Judge Rhonda Winston said the use of a knife was excessive under the circumstances.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 16. Lawson will remain in home confinement until the hearing.

Plea documents have been added to this post.

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