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Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in boyfriend's death

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Charleston woman accused of fatally stabbing her boyfriend pleaded guilty Friday to reduced charges in light of an autopsy that revealed that a medical procedure caused the man's death.

Stacey McCormick, 30, who was originally charged with murder, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the stabbing of her boyfriend, David Snyder, 50.

Snyder died in CAMC General Hospital in August, three days after the two had an altercation in a West Side home.

Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Dan Holstein said Friday that, according to medical examiners, Snyder's 1.5-inch stab wound was "healing just fine" -- but when doctors removed a tube they placed in Snyder's chest, he began to bleed internally.

"He would not have died but for the bleeding where the chest tube was removed," Holstein said, citing the medical examiner's report.

Snyder checked out of the hospital on Aug. 19, against his doctor's orders, McCormick's lawyer, John Sullivan, said during a September bail hearing. Snyder died later that day.

On Aug. 16, police responded to a call at 1506 Washington Ave. and met with Snyder, who was bleeding from his chest, according to the original criminal complaint.

McCormick told police that she stabbed her boyfriend during an argument. She was later charged with malicious wounding.

Sullivan also has said that, during the dispute, McCormick was upset and Snyder was trying to prevent her from leaving. That information was relayed to police by McCormick's brother, who was the only other person at the house at the time, Sullivan said.

Sullivan declined to comment Friday.

When Snyder was admitted to the hospital, doctors installed a tube on one side of his chest, according to Holstein. The tube was removed three days later, when Snyder was released.

Holstein said the state could show only a "causal relationship" between the stab wound and Snyder's death. Based on the autopsy report, which cited internal bleeding as the cause of death, they could not prove that McCormick intended to kill him.

Snyder's mother, Delores, said the family does not agree with the plea.

"If she hadn't stabbed him, he wouldn't be in the hospital," Delores Snyder said. "I'm just not happy with the situation at all."

Snyder said her son did not voluntarily leave the hospital the day that he died. He was discharged and sent home in a wheelchair and family was not there to pick him up, she said. He did not have medical insurance, his mother said.

McCormick faces up to a year in prison when she is sentenced March 1.

Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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