The trial of the Newton woman accused of attempting to murder her quadriplegic daughter's fiancee last year ended abruptly this morning when she plead guilty to three of the counts and was sentenced to a maximum of 17 years in prison.
Jane Shine appeared before District Court Judge Gregory Hulse at the Jasper County Courthouse today where she plead guilty to willful injury causing injury, going armed with intent and child endangerment after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors following the first day of tesimony on Friday. In addition, she stipulated to use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the willful injury charge, an action that augments the minimum length of sentence on the count.
As part of the plea agreement, Shine, 53, asked for immediate sentencing on the charges. The court agreed with recommendations put forth in the plea agreement and sentenced Shine to 10 prison on the willful injury count, five years for going armed with intent and two years for child endangerment. Because she used a handgun in committing the willful injury offense, a minimum of five years must be served on the count before she will be eligible for parole. The sentences will run consectively.
Charges of attempted murder and child endangerment will be dismissed.
Shine appeared in court today wearing a stripped blue shirt and blue jeans with her hair pulled back in a large pony tail. Today's attire was in stark contrast from the Navy blue suit and tightly pulled back hair that marked her presence during the first day of testimony on Thursday.
Before accepting Shine's guilty pleas, Judge Hulse asked her to explain what actions she took that would merit accepting her guilty plea to the charges.
Shine said that at the time, she was "very afraid" that Eric James, her daughter's fiancee, might attempt to hurt her family.
"I was very afraid of the actions of the victim," Shine told the court. "I went home and grabbed a .38 that belonged to my father and went back to the house. My first intent was that if he started shooting, I would return fire."
However, she said, as she continued to mull her options as she stayed at the home of her daughter, she began to "feel justified in shooting him (James) to protect my family."
"My intent was to injure him to the point where he couldn't get his 9 mm and return fire," Shine said in response to a question from the judge.
In the ensuing year, Shine told the court today, she has come to "understand (we) were not in immediate danger and I was not justified in my actions of shooting him."
During questioning by the judge, Shine took issue with one factual claim entered in the case. The Minutes of Testimony state that Shine's fourth shot at James, the one fired while she was on the phone with 911 as James entered the living room after being struck three times in his bed, struck him in the hand as he pushed his daughter away from the line of fire.
"I did not almost hit my granddaughter," Shine said taking issue with the facts presented. "The fourth shot entered through his arm. His hand was hit when he was in bed and then went through his neck. I don't think there was any chance I would have hit my grandchild."
She did, however, acknowledge that shooting James in the presence of the child likely scared her and was "emotionally upsetting" to the girl.
Before pronouncing sentence, Judge Hulse asked Shine if she wanted to address the court.
"I don't think there's anything further, your honor," she said. (James also declined comment to the court.)
Judge Hulse suspended her fines and waived the requirement that pay restitution for her court appointed attorneys. In asking for the attorney fee waive, Shine noted that she has been on unpaid leave from her previous position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that her huband is on Social Security disability, financial positions that would pose a hardship if required to pay the costs.
After sentence was passed, Shine smiled broadly as she turned to shake hands with her defense counselors, a stark contrast to the stoic expression she wore throughout the day on Thursday.
As deputies lead her from the courtroom she stopped to kiss her husband and give her daughter, Danielle, a hug in her power chair.