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West Virginia Woman Admits She Stabbed Husband to Death During Ninja-Foreplay


West Virginia woman Jennifer Lynn Via, 49, admitted Monday to stabbing her husband to death with a decorative dagger during violent foreplay. Via pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter – a charge downgraded from the initial charge of first-degree murder – explaining that she stabbed Thomas Via in the back, where the dagger struck his heart and caused him to bleed to death.

On the night of her husband’s death, Via called Cabell County 911 to stay he had been accidentally stabbed. In the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death, Via allegedly concocted several lies about the circumstances of her husband’s death – including that he’d slipped on water and fell onto an old screwdriver.  Via also attempted to collect an $80,000 life insurance policy that had been increased weeks before the incident.  Authorities now say that the couple had been mimicking a ninja superhero movie when Jennifer Lynn Via accidentally stabbed her husband as he stood up from a bent-over position while dumping water into a toilet.

Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard sentenced Via to the maximum 15 years; that sentence, however, could be reduced to as low as three years at an upcoming hearing where Via’s personal history will be presented.

Asked about the details of her husband’s death, Via said:

My husband and I liked to fight and have sex and then make up, if that’s the right way to say that. He wasn’t supposed to get hurt, but it did happen.

Via’s defense lawyer Kerry Nessel went into even more detail about “what led to this.”

“As strange as this is, they watched these Kung Fu movies and it led to, what I would tell a jury, foreplay, which was both of them getting pretty violent with each other while playing with weapons,” Nessel said.

[image via WV Regional Jail]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos