Broome County jury finds Binghamton woman not guilty of manslaughter in domestic incident

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A Binghamton woman accused of killing her boyfriend in 2020 was acquitted of manslaughter charges Thursday in Broome County Court.

After deliberating a little more than an hour, a jury found Shalace Williams, 31, not guilty on charges of first-degree manslaughter and evidence tampering in the February 2020 death of 55-year-old James Sellers.

“Cases involving domestic violence often have tragic consequences,” Broome County District Attorney Michael A. Korchak said. “The jury was called upon to decide very difficult issues in this case.”

Williams was initially charged with second-degree murder after Sellers was found unresponsive on the sidewalk outside the couple’s Eldredge Street home with multiple apparent stab wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the investigation determined Williams and Sellers were involved in a domestic relationship, and the two got into a dispute before the stabbing.

Williams was a victim of chronic domestic abuse, according to Broome County Public Defender Jonathan Rothermel, who represented her throughout the proceeding.

“It was a very clear case of Shalace defending herself,” he said. “Domestic violence is unfortunately very prevalent in our community, and our office and the district attorneys see it a lot.”

The case went to trial primarily because Williams was “dishonest with police” at the onset of the investigation, Rothermel said, adding that his client “told the truth to the grand jury and told the truth on the stand.”

In November 2020, a grand jury indicted Williams on charges of second-degree manslaughter – meaning it was unclear whether she intended to kill Sellers rather than seriously injure him – and tampering with physical evidence for allegedly concealing or destroying the knife used in the attack.

If convicted of first-degree manslaughter, Williams faced up to 25 years in prison.

Since making bail about a year ago, Rothermel said, “Shalace has become something of a community activist.”

She founded “Surviving Ladies,” a support group for victims of domestic violence. Last fall, the group collected and distributed 200 backpacks full of school supplies to kids in need throughout the area.

This article originally appeared on Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: Jury finds Binghamton woman not guilty of manslaughter

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