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Man sentenced to prison for girlfriend’s fatal shooting

Updated April 28, 2022 - 12:43 pm

Less than 24 hours before Michell Armstrong was shot and killed, her mother warned her to stay away from her boyfriend.

“I told her: ‘Michell, stay away from Derrick, he’s going to kill you,’” said Armstrong’s mother, Cherylene Price. “And he did, 12 hours later. My daughter said: ‘Don’t worry mom, I’ll call you tomorrow.’ I’m still waiting on that phone call.”

Price recounted the conversation during Derrick Allen’s sentencing hearing on Thursday while crying and holding a large picture of her daughter. Last month, Allen pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for shooting Armstrong, who was killed at a home last year on Brown Street, near Henderson.

District Judge Tierra Jones sentenced Allen to between 20 and 50 years in prison.

Armstrong, 38, was found with a gunshot wound to her head in a bedroom of the home on Oct. 6, the Henderson Police Department has said. She also had a gunshot wound to her hand, which appeared to be a defensive wound.

Witnesses told investigators that Allen was the only person in the room with Armstrong at the time of her death, and that the two had been arguing, police said. A witness also reported later seeing Allen holding a gun to his own head moments before Armstrong was killed.

Allen did not give a statement during his sentencing hearing on Thursday. His defense attorney, Richard Tanasi, declined to comment on the case.

Court records show that Allen has an arrest record in Henderson dating to 1999, including convictions for battery, attempted robbery, assault and drug possession.

Armstrong had four children and a granddaughter who called her “Grandma shark.” Her mother said Armstrong “always thought of everyone before herself.”

“My mother deserved better than this,” said Brooke Spangler, one of Armstrong’s children. “She will no longer be able to love, laugh, live or cry. You took away something irreplaceable.”

Allen stood in the courtroom and stared straight ahead while Price addressed the judge on Thursday morning. Price said her daughter had planned to marry Allen one day.

“He told her, and me, that he loved her,” Price said. “How can you kill somebody you love?”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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