Woman accused in Janesville homicide won’t face charges, DA says
JANESVILLE, Wis. — The woman accused in the death of a Janesville man won’t face charges, the Rock County district attorney said Friday afternoon.
District Attorney David O’Leary announced that criminal charges wouldn’t be filed against 20-year-old Sarina Stone concerning the death of 26-year-old Robert Thomas Jr.
Officers were dispatched to Mercy Hospital on Wednesday at 12:36 a.m. on a report of a man who arrived with a stab wound. Thomas died from a single stab wound to the chest. On Wednesday, police arrested Stone on a tentative charge of first-degree reckless homicide.
O’Leary said after reviewing the reports, he concluded that the state could not meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. O’Leary said there is no question that Stone killed Thomas, but the state lacks evidence that would prove that she intended to cause Thomas’s death.
“While there is a viable theory of prosecution for reckless homicide, a jury would be entitled to hear more than enough evidence to support a claim of self-defense,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said Stone and Thomas had a monthslong relationship that was often violent. The investigation showed there were numerous prior instances of domestic violence in which Thomas was the aggressor against Stone.
There would be a significant amount of evidence that would support the argument that Stone was trying to defend herself when she killed Thomas, O’Leary said.
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When he died, Thomas had two criminal cases pending in Rock County. In one of the cases, Thomas is accused of battering Stone and another woman who tried to come to Stone’s defense. In the other, Thomas was combative with officers when they tried to arrest him in connection with what appeared to be an act of prostitution committed by Stone that O’Leary said Thomas was alleged to have facilitated. A jury would be entitled to consider the details of Thomas’ prior criminal record, which includes convictions for several violent offenses.
The Janesville Police Department spoke with several people who said they had seen Thomas hit Stone in the past, had seen her with bruises she said she got from Thomas and had heard him threaten her with beatings. There is at least one witness who would testify that Stone had told him that the Thomas had previously raped her.
Stone was in a domestic violence women’s shelter on at least one occasion as a result of past abuse from Thomas. The investigation showed that Stone is 5 feet 3 inches tall and 128 pounds, and that Thomas was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 180 pounds. Because there are no known witnesses to the stabbing, the state does not have any witnesses to contradict a claim of self-defense.
Based upon the state of the investigation, the state would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stone didn’t act in lawful self-defense; therefore, no criminal charges will be filed at this time.
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