Wichita woman sentenced to four years, eight months in fatal shooting

A woman with a long history of mental illness was sentenced Thursday to four years and eight months in prison for firing a bullet through a wall that struck and killed a man who was sitting in an adjacent room.

Desiree Boone, 36, also received a one-year sentence for threatening another man with the gun that fired the fatal shot on Nov. 7, 2011. She will have to serve the sentences consecutively.

Boone told a Sedgwick County jury in April that her .40-caliber handgun discharged accidentally as she and her cousin argued in a home they shared at 1818 W. Mentor, which is about a block east of Friends University. The bullet struck Earle Sullivan Jr., 47, in the head and killed him instantly.

Sullivan was helping the cousin move a table and curtains into the home when he was shot.

The jury deliberated about two hours before convicting Boone of involuntary manslaughter. It rejected prosecutors’ contention that she was guilty of second-degree murder.

A psychological report prepared for the sentencing showed that Boone had been undergoing mental health treatment for a decade, and that she had a limited response to medication.

“There is no denying that for many years Ms. Boone has had mental health issues,” prosecutor Tom Weilert said at the sentencing hearing. “What she did was very reckless. What she did caused the death of Earle Sullivan.”

Defense lawyer Casey Cotton asked District Judge Terry Pullman to consider placing Boone in Community Corrections or allowing her to serve a prison sentence at the Larned State Hospital.

“There are mental health issues at play here,” he said. “There were mental issues at play that night.”

Boone read a brief statement at the hearing that began by offering condolences to Sullivan’s relatives.

“I was not in my right state of mind,” she said. “If I could go back and change it I would. In a split second, your life can change forever.”

Among those attending the hearing was Sullivan’s aunt, Rosezetta Sullivan, who had only a brief comment when asked to address the court.

“I just hope that God will forgive her,” she said.

Pullman in the end rejected a non-prison sentence.

“If I do err, I’m going to err on the side of public safety,” he said.