VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A murder charge has been reduced against a Virginia Beach woman accused of killing her husband.
Monday, a judge reduced the charge from second degree murder to voluntary manslaughter.
“He was going to attack her and she was not going to let that happen again, so she fired,” said attorney James Broccoletti.
From the beginning, Broccoletti claimed his client Breanna Sullivan shot her husband Antonio in self defense.The crime happened last July at her home on Huybert Place.
“Ultimately it is a self defense case, because she was in reasonable fear of death and bodily harm at his hands,” Broccoletti added.
Monday, Sullivan had her preliminary hearing. A police officer testified that she was the one who called 911, and when he got on the scene she was walking out with a cell phone in one hand and her 3-year-old daughter in the other.
Antonio was shot twice and one was at close range. The couple’s daughter was sitting just feet from where it happened.
A detective told the court Breanna and Antonio were arguing. She said he was going to kill her and when he raised his hand that’s when she fired.
10 On Your Side uncovered several domestic violence charges and protective warrants that Breanna took out against Antonio in the past. They were all later dropped.
“The husband would say ‘I won’t do it again, I love you, we have a child together and I will be better,'” Broccoletti said. “She loved him and she believed him and it happened again.”
Broccoletti told the judge there was no evidence Breanna meant to shoot Antonio and it only happened in the heat of passion.
“If he hadn’t come home and threatened to kill her and tried to choke her and went after with a balled up fist he would still be alive today,” Broccoletti added.
Sullivan will remain in jail for now.
Prosecutors can ask a grand jury to bring back the second degree murder charge. The Commonwealth says it is reviewing the case before deciding a next move.