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Prison sentence meted

District Judge Jackie Glass on Thursday sentenced a woman convicted of second-degree murder to 20 years to life in prison.

A jury convicted Jessica Barraza, 31, of murdering 28-year-old Crystal Wilkins on Aug. 6, 2005, outside the Silver Saddle bar on Charleston Boulevard, near Eastern Avenue.

Defense attorneys David Schieck and Clark Patrick had asked the judge for a more lenient sentence of 10 to 25 years, arguing that Barraza, who was high on methamphetamine at the time, had tried to walk away from an argument with Wilkins.

“She was just trying to get her (Wilkins) to back off,” Patrick said.

The women, who defense attorneys said were acquaintances, were walking with two others individuals, including Renee Manuel. Manuel told police she looked over and saw Barraza stab Wilkins in the hand and then in the abdomen during an argument.

Manuel called 911 as Barraza fled.

Wilkins later died at University Medical Center.

Wilkins was raised by foster parents in Ohio, who prosecutor Tracey Brierly said could not attend the sentencing Thursday. Wilkins was also the mother of three sons, ages 4, 6, and 8.

Brierly said since Barraza’s arrest in 2005 she has had a combative history in jail, fighting with other inmates.

“She wants to be top dog,” Brierly said.

Barraza, who has a 16-year-old daughter, apologized in court to Wilkins’ family and her own.

Glass cited Barraza’s temper, and the community’s need for protection from it, in issuing her sentence.

“I’m dealing with someone who has no respect for authority and is defiant,” Glass said.

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