A little more than a year after killing a woman he considered his “wife,” a Pulaski man will be sentenced today for first-degree murder.
Tony W. Covey, 40, pled “no contest” last September to stabbing Shelby F. Cline in the neck so badly that the prosecution said she was “virtually decapitated.”
The no contest plea means Covey acknowledged evidence was sufficient for a finding of guilt, but it is not an admission of guilt. He entered the plea without benefit of an agreement, so he faces 20 years to life in prison.
According to Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor, Covey called 911 around 1:30 a.m. Feb. 21, 2009, saying someone had killed his wife. When police arrived on the scene they found Cline deceased in a bed with “a large amount of blood near her head.”
Fleenor told the court that Covey provided police with differing statements, including that he had found Cline dead in the bed, and that he and Cline got into an argument and she fell on the knife when he shoved her.
According to Fleenor, police found blood on Covey’s hands, jeans, jacket, on the bathroom sink, splattered on the bedroom walls, on a doorframe, and on a knife. DNA tests determined the blood was Clines.
The prosecutor went on to say that Covey asked to be taken to a doctor after being jailed in the case.
“When the doctor asked him how he felt, he said ‘I feel the same as I did when I killed that girl,’” Fleenor told Judge Colin Gibb.
Besides the stab wounds to her neck, Fleenor said the autopsy indicated Cline also had ligature marks on her neck. He said it is the prosecution’s theory those marks were made by a shoestring missing from a pair of Covey’s shoes.
Covey told the judge he was either on probation or parole at the time of his arrest, but no further details were provided.
Covey will be sentenced after a background report has been completed.
At the time of the incident, police said Covey and Cline had lived in the Summit Street home only a couple of days when the murder occurred.