ERIE, Pa. — The murder trial for a woman charged as a suspect in a 2015 murder ended before it even started Tuesday morning.
In an 11th hour decision, Teonia Kimbro, 20, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and burglary with a sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison for the murder of 58-year-old Sherry Lyons.
The jury was selected on Monday and opening statements were ready to begin Tuesday when Kimbro decided to accept a plea deal. Lyons was killed in her home in the 200 block of East 27th Street in June 2015.
If a jury found Kimbro guilty of first-degree murder, she would have spent life in prison. To avoid that sentence, she accepted a plea deal from the prosecution.
Kimbro and her accomplice, Marquice Evans, 27, stole money from Lyons’ bank card after Lyons trusted it with Kimbro, according to police.
Once money was stolen from Lyons, text messages were found between the two stating they would now need to kill Lyons.
Evans beat Lyons, threw her down the stairs in her home, throw a television on her and duct tape her head until she ultimately suffocated to death, according to prosecutors.
Evans was sentenced in September to life in prison plus 94 years after being found guilty of first-degree murder.
Kimbro apologized Tuesday to the family while in court saying, “I just want to tell the family that I am so sorry.”
Judge John Garhart said he agreed to the plea deal because the sentence is stiff for third-degree murder.
The prosecution said they offered a plea deal in this case because Kimbro was not the one who actually executed the murder plan but was a mastermind behind it.