Supporters rally for alleged battered St. Paul woman who killed her boyfriend

0
3
Natalie Pollard, who was sentenced in 2016 to spend the next decade of her life in prison following her conviction on charges that she unintentionally murdered her boyfriend in July of 2015, has had her murder conviction reversed, opening the door for Pollard to recently plead guilty in Ramsey County District Court to second-degree manslaughter. The plea deal reached with prosecutors means Pollard isn't expected to serve any additional prison time when she's sentenced for her new conviction in May 2018, according to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office. She is photographed in St. Paul on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)
Natalie Pollard, convicted in 2016 of unintentionally murdering her boyfriend, had her murder conviction reversed and recently plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

A St. Paul woman formerly convicted of killing her boyfriend stood singing among some 40 of her supporters in front of the Ramsey County attorney’s office Friday.

“Not gonna let no attorney turn me round, turn me round, turn me round,” the crowd sang, tweaking the words of the freedom song sung during the civil rights movement to more closely fit Natalie Pollard’s situation.

Then group members started chanting the reason they gathered on Pollard’s behalf on an unusually chilly spring day in downtown St. Paul.

“Drop the charges,” the supporters yelled.

The demand was made of Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, whose office filed second-degree murder charges against Pollard after police found her boyfriend, Obinna Nwankpa, 30, bleeding inside her St. Paul townhome in the summer of 2015 from a stab wound inflicted by Pollard.

Throughout her trial, Pollard, 36, maintained that her actions were self-defense against an abusive boyfriend who broke into the home she shared with her children and became combative, putting all of their lives at risk.

Nwankpa was convicted of domestic violence-related crimes against two other woman in the past, but never Pollard.

A jury wound up convicting Pollard of the murder charge.

But the conviction was recently overturned based on a technicality in the instructions read to jurors presiding over the case. The Ramsey County attorney’s office subsequently offered Pollard the chance to plead to second-degree manslaughter instead, in exchange for a promise she won’t have to serve additional prison time when she’s sentenced next month.

Pollard took the deal, telling media previously that she didn’t want to risk another trial and more time away from her children.

Her supporters say Pollard shouldn’t face any charges for defending herself against her abuser and that Choi should drop the manslaughter count. They argue that a felony conviction will make finding safe housing and good employment difficult for the single mother of six.

Nwankpa’s father maintains Pollard murdered his son and that her claims that he was abusive are lies aimed at helping her evade responsibility for her actions.

Choi’s office stood by its decisions in a statement issued Friday, saying some of the concern voiced by community members is based on “limited information” about Pollard’s case that has circulated online.

“Multiple facts came out during the court process which led the jury to find Ms. Pollard guilty of second degree murder in January of 2016,” the statement read. “We believe those facts support the decision Ms. Pollard made to plead guilty to second degree manslaughter.”

It went on to say that the county attorney’s office agreed to resolve the case with Pollard’s attorneys in such a way that the mother wouldn’t have to spend any more time in prison.

Pollard’s supporters held signs and wore matching red T-shirts at her rally Friday afternoon.

“Surviving domestic violence is not a crime,” one sign read.

Tonya Honsey was among those who spoke. She is an organizer with We Rise, a group that describes itself as “a collective of women conceiving change and birthing progress.”

“This system needs to be held accountable for the trauma she’s endured,” Honsey said.

Pollard, who sang with a women’s choir while in prison, took to the microphone briefly before breaking into a solo rendition of “I Won’t Complain.”

“I am more than thankful to be out here with everyone today supporting me and just (knowing) that what happened is not right,” she said.

Source Photos and content
We invite you to visit the entry in the original version
https://www.twincities.com/2018/04/13/drop-the-charges-supporters-rally-for-st-paul-woman-who-stabbed-boyfriend-to-death/