BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Nedra Jones apologized to the family of the victim Monday as she was sentenced to 19 years in prison for manslaughter. The 29-year-old fatally stabbed 28-year-old Lonnice Willis on North Oak Street last year.
“A horrible tragedy occurred on September 8 and I wish I could take it back. In addition to destroying the lives of Lonnice’s family, I have also ruined my family’s life,” said Jones.
Willis’ grieving mother broke down in tears as her daughter’s killer learned her fate. The fatal stabbing left three children without a mother.
“My daughter was murdered by the hands of Nedra Jones, who made a conscious decision to take a knife and plunge it in my daughter’s chest,” said Tracey Saunders, Willis’ mother.
Investigators say Willis went to Jones’ home last September, looking for her ex-boyfriend. Saunders told Judge William Boller she was there to pick up her kids. Now Willis’ three children, ranging in age from 2 to 10, will never see their mother again.
“My grandson is 2-years-old. He doesn’t understand why his mother is not here. I have to tell him she’s sleeping. He begs me to wake her up so he can go home,” said Saunders.
Jones was found guilty of stabbing Willis outside her home. Jones’ attorney says she panicked when an upset Willis came to her door and used excessive force.
“30-year-old mothers with no prior criminal history don’t just stab somebody for no reason,” said Jones’ attorney.
Judge Boller sentenced Jones to 19 years in prison. Her children, ages 2 and 8, will also have to grow up without their mom, but unlike Willis they will have a chance to see their mom again.
“What a tragic case, all about a guy,” said Judge Boller. He told Jones ‘you don’t bring a knife to a fist fight’ and that if she would have stayed inside her home none of this would have happened.
“I don’t think 19 years is sufficient for what she did. She took a life, she did the ultimate. Something that we can never get back,” said Saunders.
Jones could have faced up to 25 years to life in prison.