A lawyer who stabbed his neighbor to death because he thought the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.
“It’s a Shakespearean tragedy brought into the real world,” Judge Richard Comerford said at the sentencing. “Something was set into motion in this man’s mind—real or perceived. It was very real to him.”
Jonathon Edington, 29, attacked neighbor Barry James in the man’s bedroom last year after his wife told him she thought James had molested their daughter. Officers said they found Edington washing the victim’s blood off in a kitchen sink.
Fairfield police also investigated the molestation allegation and said they found no evidence to back it up. They said Edington’s wife, Christina, refused to cooperate with the investigation into the slaying, and prosecutor Jonathan Benedict has said a defense psychiatrist determined Edington’s wife suffered from postpartum depression.
Defense attorney Andrew Bowman said his client was not in his right mind when he attacked James.
“He is a good and decent man who suffered such a traumatic event in his life that he lost control,” Bowman said.
Edington and his wife entered court holding hands. After the sentence was read, Edington, who had been free on bond, was handcuffed and led away as Christina Edington fell to her knees. The judge issued a 20-year sentence, but suspended eight years of that, leaving 12 years to serve, plus five years probation.
James’ parents, Rita and Charlie James, filed a victims’ statement with the court saying, “We will never be the same.”
“A terrible tragedy has happened for nothing, but it has destroyed all that we have,” they wrote.
Also Friday, an attorney for the Jameses served Christina Edington with a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing her of triggering the stabbing and making up the abuse claim. A similar lawsuit is pending against Edington.
Christina Edington did not comment as she left the courthouse.