Melissa Blatchford maintained that she never meant to shoot Quinton Blatchford. Instead, she was planning to kill herself when her husband intervened.
Blatchford, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree manslaughter for her husband's death. She also pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for pointing a gun at him a week before shooting him. She admitted that she was armed during both incidents. Her use of a firearm accounted for the bulk of her prison sentence. She must serve every day of six years as part of the state's "hard time for armed crime" enhancement.
Quinton Blatchford's family was not convinced that the Dec. 29 shooting was an accident. They believed the defendant deserved more time for the killing.
If the case had gone to trial, jurors likely would have heard about the woman's long history of mental health issues, including past suicide attempts and time spent in psychiatric hospitals.
Just a week before Quinton Blatchford was found with a gunshot wound to his head, he reported to police that his wife had guns and he was concerned she may harm herself.
Blatchford told officers that he wasn't concerned for his own safety and denied that she had pointed the guns at him.
He said that his wife hadn't been taking her medications and she wasn't acting like herself.
During that earlier police visit, officers attempted to contact Melissa Blatchford by telephone and loudspeaker.
They could see her looking at them out the window, but she refused to talk to police. Officers left the home without contacting the woman, prosecutors wrote in court papers.
There's no record that officers contacted a county designated mental health provider. The Blatchfords weren't allowed to have guns.
Quinton Blatchford was a felon with a prior conviction for manslaughter and assault. His wife's prior mental health commitments would have precluded her from having guns.
The slain man's cousin told officers that Quinton Blatchford called him earlier the night police showed up and told him that his wife had pointed a gun at him, court papers said. The man advised Quinton Blatchford to call police.
A few days later, Quinton Blatchford reportedly told his family that he and his wife were getting a divorce. Detectives later reported finding a note from the slain man to his wife which indicates that the couple was having marital problems.
On Dec. 29, two of the Blatchfords' north Everett neighbors called 911 reporting a disturbance at the couple's apartment. A couple of minutes later, Melissa Blatchford called 911, reporting that she'd shot her husband, court papers said. She told the dispatcher to send an ambulance and then hung up.
Officers found Quinton Blatchford, 42, inside, lying on his back in the living room. There was a handgun nearby.
He was rushed to the hospital, where he was put on life support. He died Dec. 31.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.
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