MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A jury convicted the roommate of slain Middle Tennessee basketball player Tina Stewart of the lesser charge of second-degree murder after two hours of deliberation Monday.
Stewart was fatally stabbed in the chest March 2, 2011, by Shanterrica Madden at the off-campus apartment the two shared in Murfreesboro. Madden, 19, acknowledged stabbing Stewart but claimed it was self-defense against her larger and more athletic roommate.
Prosecutors had argued for first-degree murder, saying Madden's attack was premeditated and intentional after Stewart reported her for smoking marijuana.
The 21-year-old Stewart was a veteran on the Lady Raiders team, which was preparing for the Sun Belt Conference tournament when she was killed.
After Stewart's death, the Middle Tennessee women lost in an emotional opener at the conference tournament, received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and then lost in the first round.
Although Stewart and Madden were from Memphis, they didn't know each other until assigned to same apartment. Their mothers each testified at the trial and said the young women were the first from their families to attend college.
Defense attorney Joe Brandon Jr. said during open statements that Stewart and Madden had gotten along until Stewart's boyfriend "took up residence at the apartment."
Madden, who is 4 feet 11 inches, told the jury the final argument in Stewart's bedroom became physical when the 5-foot-7 player began hitting her. Madden said she defended herself with a knife she took from Stewart's bed.
Madden sobbed as she testified that she wanted to use the knife on herself after stabbing Stewart but the blade was bent.
"So I tried to unbend it because I wanted to kill myself, and I wish that I had," she said.
Prosecutors presented testimony and evidence that showed that Madden didn't try to help Stewart after stabbing her and instead tried to hide her involvement, including by sending misleading text messages from Stewart's phone.