Six years for Riverhead woman who fatally stabbed boyfriend

06/28/2010 12:00 AM |

A Riverhead woman, who last month pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing her boyfriend in December 2009, was sentenced to six years in prison earlier this month, according to her attorney.
Kianna Coach, 22, of Riverhead pleaded guilty May 14 at the Suffolk County courthouse in Riverside to first-degree manslaughter for stabbing 25-year-old James Wheeler of Flanders after a quarrel at her East Main Street apartment.
Susan Menu, Ms. Coach’s Riverhead-based lawyer, said she had requested a sentence of five years, but the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office had recommended a sentence of five to 15 years.
“She’s a young woman with no criminal record,” Ms. Menu explained.
Police said Ms. Coach fled to a neighbor’s apartment at the River Pointe apartment complex during a fight with Mr. Wheeler. She returned with a kitchen knife, which she plunged into her boyfriend’s chest.
Mr. Wheeler managed to stumble outside after the stabbing before collapsing on a patch of lawn, police had said. Ms. Coach’s baby son was in the apartment at the time of the incident, but was unharmed, investigators said.
Mr. Wheeler later died at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.
Ms. Coach had initially pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in December. At that time, Ms. Menu told Riverhead Town Justice Allen Smith that Mr. Wheeler had abused her client. She showed the judge bruises on Ms. Coach’s legs and said there were other bruises on her neck.
vchinese@timesreview.com