23-year prison sentence for woman in slow cooker death
Detroit — A Detroit woman who was drunk when she killed a friend with a slow cooker during an argument over politics was sentenced Monday to at least 23 years in prison.
A judge followed the recommended sentence in the plea deal between Tewana Sullivan and prosecutors.
Sullivan, 51, beat Cheryl Livy, 66, with a slow cooker at the victim’s Livonia apartment in October. Defense attorney John McWilliams said they were arguing about the 2016 race for president.
“She is greatly remorseful. She’s filled with guilt and shame,” he said of Sullivan.
Sullivan’s blood-alcohol level was 0.41 — five times the level for drunken driving in Michigan, McWilliams said.
“One was for one major political party and the other was for the other major political party,” he said.
In May, facing a first-degree murder trial, Sullivan pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder. She’ll be eligible for parole after 23 years and will get mental health care in prison. Her maximum sentence is 50 years.
McWilliams said Sullivan seemed to have second thoughts about the plea deal.
“The judge would hear nothing of it. It was not well-placed because the likelihood of conviction of first-degree murder was great,” he said. “And the state wouldn’t have to give her mental health care.”