Andrew Sumner, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to manslaughter in the stabbing death of Ashley King at her Slidell apartment, was given a 40-year sentence last week by Judge Allison Penzato. He was the last of three defendants in the case to be sentenced.
Sumner, 22, and his wife, Katelyn Marie Lusich, 21, both of Slidell, made plea deals with the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in exchange for taking the stand in Devin Baham’s second-degree murder trial in May.
Sumner testified that in February 2012, Baham wielded the knife that killed King and that he later set her body ablaze to cover up the crime. The 32-year-old woman was stabbed 13 times.
The two men had set up a drug buy with King at her Slidell apartment with plans to rob her. But Baham started stabbing her in a violent scuffle that Sumner said caught him by surprise. Sumner grabbed pills and cash, fleeing in the getaway car driven by his pregnant girlfriend, Lusich.
Lusich, who was 17 at the time, hid the pills and money and washed Sumner’s clothes.
Sumner said he and Baham returned to the apartment in the early morning hours, when Baham poured gasoline on King’s body and set it on fire.
King’s body was discovered after firefighters extinguished the blaze.
At the trial, Sumner testified that he could face as much as 100 years in jail but that his plea deal could open the door to a lesser sentence. His attorney, Dwight Doskey, said Sumner must serve at least 34 years from the date of his incarceration.
Lusich, who has since married Sumner, pleaded guilty last year to one count of obstruction of justice. She was sentenced to 40 years but will be eligible for parole in 15 years.
Originally, the two men were charged with first-degree murder and Lusich was charged as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and armed robbery. But in May 2013, a grand jury reindicted all three on the same charges: second-degree murder, aggravated arson and obstruction of justice.
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