11/06/08 — Woman guilty in man's stabbing death

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Woman guilty in man's stabbing death

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 6, 2008 1:46 PM

Mary Kim Little

A Wayne County Superior Court jury convicted a Pikeville area woman Monday of voluntary manslaughter in her trial for second-degree murder.

The jury found Mary Kim Little guilty of stabbing Jose Enriquez III, 45, but for a lesser charge than the one she originally faced.

Ms. Little, 29, of Johnston Avenue outside Pikeville, was ordered to serve six to eight years in prison.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning its verdict, court minutes show.

Judge Jack W. Jenkins ordered that Ms. Little start serving time immediately after jurors returned a verdict late in the day.

The judge also requested drug treatment assistance for Ms. Little.

Substance abuse, including crack cocaine, marijuana and alcohol, played a role in the Nov. 4, 2006, fight that killed Enriquez, testimony showed.

Before the fight, four people sat around a table at the Enriquez home in Saulston, all drinking and smoking marijuana, police testified. Ms. Little said Billy Capps, who was at the home, called her into a bedroom and forcefully removed her belt. A fight ensued, and Enriquez and Leland Daniel Underhill were stabbed. Everyone involved in the fight was injured.

Underhill was the defendant's boyfriend at the time, and the manslaughter victim was an acquaintance of theirs.

Ms. Little had pleaded not guilty to stabbing Enriquez.

Witness Carla Lee, the mother of surviving stabbing victim Underhill, testified that Ms. Little called her not long after she killed Enriquez.

She testified that the call came during a still-ongoing scuffle between Billy Capps and her son, Underhill, at the Enriquez home in the 100 block of Tindale Place.

The witness said the defendant told her she had stabbed Enriquez and that she threw the knife in a wooded area around his home.

Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler later testified that scene investigators found the knife in the woods, and took pictures of the blood-soiled weapon, an 8-inch blade with a 5-inch handle.

At the hospital, Ms. Lee said she had trouble seeing, because "mace or pepper spray" used during the fight at the Enriquez home was so strong.

Both defense attorney Robert Smith and Assistant District Attorney Rusty Perlungher probed Ms. Lee about the scene.

Ms. Lee testified the chemical smell was strong even after the fighting victims had removed their clothes for hospital gowns.

Perlungher interviewed Mike Kabler, a Sheriff's Office detective, about defendant Ms. Little's demeanor when Kabler reported to Wayne Memorial Hospital to interview the participants in the fighting.

"She was excited," Kabler testified. "She was doing a lot of talking, a lot of speaking really fast. She did seem to be really excited about what was going on at the time."