ERWIN — A Unicoi County woman charged with first-degree murder in a 2017 fatal stabbing pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge, but agreed to more than a decade in prison to avoid a trial.
Ricina Patrick, 30, was arrested Feb. 27, 2017, on a first-degree murder charge for the stabbing death of Ricky Lynn Price, 55, inside the Tipton Street home where they lived in Erwin. Police and sheriff’s deputies responded to the residence around 10 that morning after a neighbor called about a man bleeding on their front porch.
Price collapsed on a neighbor’s porch after trying to get help after the stabbing, leaving a trail of blood behind him. He told officers Patrick had stabbed him.
On Monday, Patrick stood with her attorney, Mitch Manuel, in front of Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. That’s a Class C felony, which carries three to 15 years, depending on the number of prior convictions defendants may have on their records. Patrick had no prior convictions, so her true sentence range was three to six years with a 30 percent parole eligibility date.
As part of the plea agreement, Patrick agreed to plead outside her sentencing range to 15 years as a career offender with a 60 percent parole eligibility date, which means she must serve around nine years before becoming eligible for parole. If she had been convicted of first-degree murder, Patrick faced a life sentence and would have served 50 years before being eligible for release.
Testimony during an August 2017 preliminary hearing from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent Scott Lott indicated he believed the stabbing incident began in a hallway area near the master bedroom due to the amount of blood there.
He said blood was located on several items, including a comforter in the master bedroom. The knife investigators believe was used in the stabbing was located in another bedroom under a pile of clothes, Lott said. It was one of the last items investigators found while searching the house and it appeared to be “a chef knife,” he said.
Patrick was previously found competent to stand trial.