News and Tribune

Floyd County

July 19, 2008

Inmate seeks shorter sentence

Six years after pleading guilty to conspiring to murder her husband, Tina McCallister was back in court Friday morning requesting a lighter sentence.

McCallister was sentenced to 35 years in prison and five years probation, but as part of her plea agreement, she reserved the right to have her sentence modified after six years.

According to the prosecution, McCallister’s lover, Damon Slaughter, shot and killed her husband, 34-year-old Ernest McCallister, in March 2001.

Prosecutors believe that Tina, 28 at the time, lured her husband into an office near University Woods Apartments in New Albany, where Slaughter killed him.

Slaughter pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed with a deadly weapon, a class A felony. He received the same prison time as McCallister, but cannot be released before June 2018, according to court records.

At one point, Slaughter was scheduled to testify against McCallister, but never did. McCallister initially pled insanity, but changed her plea to guilty in July 2002.

Stain Faith, prosecutor at the time, said the prosecution did not know McCallister’s exact involvement, or they would never have agreed to a plea that allowed her to possibly go free after six years.

Former Deputy Prosecutor Shane Gibson said he remembers that Slaughter and McCallister had tried to kill her husband at least once before. He believes McCallister was the mastermind.

“She ultimately was the planner,” Gibson said. “He pretty much did what she needed or wanted.”

Deputy Prosecutor Steve Owen, now representing the state, said the crime was heinous and asked the judge to not grant the modification.

“If you’re able to have sex with a man and tell him you love him and within an hour kill him ... I don’t know what else to call it but evil,” he said.

A forensic psychologist who examined McCallister in prison testified that she was a very low risk to offend again. He also said that McCallister gave him a detailed description of the crime — one that differs greatly from the story she originally told police and prosecutors.

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