Woman sentenced after pleading guilty to manslaughter

Published 5:44 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2018


NATCHEZ — A Natchez woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to manslaughter in an April 29 shooting that killed a woman.

Monique Shaquera Noble, 24, of 301 McNeely Road, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after initially being charged with second-degree murder in the death of Luquita R. Owens, 27.

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Assistant District Attorney Tim Cotton said he objected to the manslaughter plea in the incident that started after midnight April 29 in the former Club Rockafella’s at Martin Luther King Jr. and Franklin streets when Noble’s sister got into an altercation with another woman.

The altercation moved outside of the club and  Caleb Walton Jr. fired a gun, Cotton said. Noble was not initially involved in the fight and her defense was that she was going to defend her sister, Cotton said.

“Mr. Walton had fired three shots in the air and everybody got in their cars and started leaving,” Cotton said. “She (Noble) pulled the gun out of his back pocket and struck Miss Owens in the head, and she struck her a second time and the gun went off; and it was a fatal shot.”

Cotton said he believes Noble could have intervened in a less deadly way.

“Her defense is that she was going to defend her sister,” Cotton said, “but she didn’t bite her or kick her or punch her. She did nothing but get a gun and began striking the victim in the head.”

Walton, who had previous felonies, was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and is set for trial in January, Cotton said.

The victim’s uncle Donald Smith said he believes Noble’s sentence was too lenient and he believes Noble should have been sentenced for second-degree murder.

“You took a life in your own hands,” Smith said. “You could have stopped and thought. Punish her. Give her time to think. When she’s some kind of reformed then she can be back out here.”

Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson said he considered the wishes of families of the victim and defendant before imposing the maximum sentence of 20 years for manslaughter.

“The death occurred in the heat of passion without any premeditated event,” Johnson said. “I felt very clearly within the law that it fit into manslaughter, and 20 years is actually the low end of second degree murder. The problem for the defendant was this was a fight without a weapon being involved and she introduced a weapon into the fight.”

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said Noble’s sentence is one of 18 in the past month that have resulted in more than 200 years of accumulated sentences.

“We certainly hope this will send a message to the community that if you do the crime the punishment will follow,” Armstrong said. “We want that to resonate through the community.”