A Lafayette woman was found guilty of negligent homicide in the January 2020 stabbing death of her estranged partner on Thursday.
The jury found Elizabeth Alfred, 28, guilty of negligent homicide, a lesser charge than the original proposed manslaughter charge. Alfred will be sentenced by 15th Judicial District Court Judge Marilyn Castle after a pre-sentencing investigation is completed by the Louisiana Department of Corrections, a statement from 15th Judicial District Attorney Don Landry’s Office said.
Negligent homicide carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Alfred was found guilty of fatally stabbing her estranged partner, 31-year-old Phillip “Joe” Nelson, III, at an apartment complex in the 800 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive around 10:45 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2020.
The stabbing happened while Alfred and Nelson were attending a family birthday party. Alfred stabbed Nelson with a large knife that penetrated 5 inches into his chest and cut his heart. A responding Lafayette Police Department officer rendered first aid and CPR but Nelson died from blood loss at the scene, the DA office’s statement said.
Assistant District Attorney Randy Menard, who prosecuted the case, said in a Friday phone interview the couple had been together for over nine years and had six children together, but had been separated for roughly a year before the stabbing.
Menard said that Alfred wasn’t aware Nelson would be present at the party. When the two got into an altercation, the prosecutor argued witnesses said she was the aggressor, striking Nelson, and wouldn’t let the situation rest until it ended in the stabbing.
The prosecutor said Alfred’s defense centered on her assertion she had suffered abuse throughout her relationship with Nelson. Her attorney, Matthew Allen, argued Nelson was the aggressor and Alfred sought to protect herself, also stating she hadn’t intended to stab Nelson but to scare him away with the knife, Menard said.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story listed Assistant District Attorney Randy Menard's last name as Bernard. The Acadiana Advocate regrets the error.