Greene County woman who filmed herself shooting her boyfriend sentenced to 20 years
After months of deliberating, a Greene County judge sentenced Melanie Spencer, a Greene County woman who filmed herself shooting her boyfriend in the back of his head in 2018, to 20 years in prison.
Spencer pleaded guilty last October to one count of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action after she shot and killed her boyfriend Samuel Biggs, 41, during an argument in September of 2018.
Judge Thomas Mountjoy sentenced Spencer to 20 years Thursday afternoon for second-degree murder and 10 years for armed criminal action, however, the sentences are to run concurrently (at the same time).
Mountjoy originally heard arguments about how Spencer should be sentenced in early February, but elected to take a few months to deliberate on the issue; stating that since there had been no trial and a lot of the evidence presented at the hearing were things he was hearing for the first time, he wanted to take time to thoroughly review the evidence.
"I find myself in an odd position," Mountjoy said. "My role here is not to determine facts... I'm a sentencing judge only in this situation."
During the initial hearing, prosecutors painted Spencer as an abusive partner who got angry when Biggs said he wanted to leave her.
The state played snippets of the argument between Biggs and Spencer, which was filmed on a laptop Spencer set up. The video showed Spencer refusing to give Biggs his keys, telling him he couldn't leave her.
The argument came to a head when Biggs stood up and walked off screen with Spencer following him. Biggs could be heard saying "stop" and Spencer responded "No, I'm ready to shoot you."
Then off-screen a gunshot could be heard, followed by screaming and Spencer rushing out of the residence.
Prosecutors pushed for a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
"She is a danger to the community," Greene County Prosecutor Philip Fuhrman said. "She killed an unarmed man in his living room by shooting him in the back of his head. She is dangerous."
More: Greene Co. woman filmed herself shooting boyfriend in the back of the head, deputies say
Family members of Biggs also called for a life sentence saying Spencer a "monster."
"The loss of a sibling is immeasurable," Rebbeca Biggs, the victim's sister, said. "He loved someone who ultimately thanked him with a bullet to the head."
Rebecca Biggs went on to plead with the judge for a harsh sentence.
"I ask your honor to put monsters where they belong," she said. "I beg for a life sentence in a concrete jungle where she belongs."
Biggs' brother, John Biggs, also expressed anger at Spencer but also at the prosecution for entering into a plea agreement with Spencer that capped the punishment for the armed criminal action charge at 10 years.
"I want you to know that I hate you," John Biggs said. "And I want to say that I think it's a horrible joke that I had to come on here and ask and beg for you to get the mandatory sentence because of some plea bargain that was taken."
On the other side, Spencer's attorney, Christopher Hatley, argued for a 10-year sentence calling Biggs the abuser and Spencer the victim.
"The state wants to put a vacuum around Melanie Spencer's life and vacuum it up and seal it and make it all about Sept. 8, 2018 and just sort of chooses to ignore every other day of her life," Hatley said.
Hatley also called a domestic abuse expert to the stand, who testified that Spencer's behavior was consistent with that of an abused woman. However, Fuhrman countered the testimony by pointing to the fact that since no charges were ever filed, they are only hearing one side of the argument.
"Hers is the only narrative we get to hear," Fuhrman said.
Spencer's attorney also pointed to the fact that immediately following shooting Biggs, she called 911 and confessed what happened, as a sign of remorse and reason for leniency, adding that up until that day she had no criminal history.
Spencer also made a statement expressing her remorse and regret for what happened that day.
"I will carry the weight of this for the rest of my life," Spencer said. "I understand if you cannot forgive me."
Spencer has been in the custody of the Greene County Jail since she was arrested in 2018. Spencer's lawyer could not be reached for comment on the sentence by press time.
Jordan Meier covers public safety for the Springfield News-Leader. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @Jordan_Meier644.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Greene County woman sentenced to 20 years for killing her boyfriend