Ashley Plummer Testimonial
In February of 2017 I was arrested and charged with 1st and 2nd degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and carrying a weapon openly with the intent to injure. The specific allegations, which were true, was that on August 22, 2016, I stabbed and killed a man in the 2400 block of Brentwood Avenue in East Baltimore.
When I originally met with Brad and explained my version of what had happened, he told me that we would defend me based on the idea that I had killed the victim in self-defense. He told me straight up that while he should be able to get me acquitted on the murder charges, because someone was killed and because I will basically be informing the jury that I did it, I may run into issues with the manslaughter count. Still, he said that if I were to be convicted of either of the murder counts I would get life in prison, but if I were convicted only of manslaughter, I would be looking at a sentence somewhere in between 1-6 years. We determined right up front that if I had to, I could live with that.
When the case came to trial, the state’s witnesses testified that there had been a fight, and that I was the aggressor. Brad was able to get the state’s witnesses to admit that, regardless of whether or not I as the initial aggressor, the victim had actually slammed me to the ground and at least for a time, had his body weight on me. It was at this time that I stabbed him. I had no intention or desire of killing him, rather I just wanted to get him off of me because he was choking me and I wasn’t sure if he was or wasn’t going to kill me. Brad did a highly effective job of proving these critical points.
When the case ended, the state had put on 5 witnesses and I had testified in my own defense. The jury was sent to deliberate and they spent about 4 hours reviewing the evidence before coming back and acquitting me of both of the murder counts and the weapons count. They did convict me of voluntary manslaughter, and I really couldn’t argue with their decision. While I would have liked to have run the table, I believe they judged the case for what it was and got it right. It was just like Brad and I discussed at our very first meeting, when there is a body, there is likely going to be some kind of price to pay. Still, Brad had worked very hard and effectively to put me in a position where my maximum sentence could be 10 years, and for that I was grateful.
Brad had asked the court for a pre-sentence investigation, which was completed, and on June 21, I returned to court for sentencing. I have to admit, this was scary for me because the state had several members of the victim’s family give “victim-impact” statements that were very emotional about how I had killed their loved one and had robbed him of his life, and them of their relationship with him. They made it very clear that they wanted the judge to bury me under the jail if he could. They most definitely wanted him to give me every minute of the 10 years that he could.
But Brad countered their statements by reviewing the facts of the case and reminding the judge that I had not wanted to kill the victim, and was only trying to defend myself after being violently assaulted. In the end the judge sentenced me to 10 years, but suspended 5, meaning I would be home in about 6 months, meaning I would spend less than 3 years total behind bars.
At the end of the day in this case, I had killed a man. While he had been my friend, and while I believed I was justified in doing what I did under the circumstances, and while I hadn’t intended to kill him, there was a person that was dead as a result of my actions. Naturally, I believed that like most people that go to trial after killing someone, particularly when there would be no question that I had been responsible, I was going to spend the rest of my life in prison, and if I had chosen a different lawyer to defend me, maybe I would have?
Brad MacFee saved my life, and for that my family and I will be forever grateful.