Crime & Courts

Woman to serve 3 years in prison for WSU student’s killing

Eboni Fingal
Eboni Fingal Sedgwick County Jail

The woman who tried to sell sex to a Wichita State University international student in the moments before his murder will spend three years in prison.

Despite a request from both prosecutors and the defense to place Eboni Fingal on probation, Sedgwick County District Court Judge Kevin O’Connor on Friday said he “can’t go as far as granting probation when somebody died.”

“The time that she (Fingal) has left on her sentence nowhere near accounts for the death of Mr. Baba,” O’Connor said, referring to 23-year-old Rayan Ibrahim Baba, who was fatally shot in the parking lot of WSU dormitory Fairmount Towers on Aug. 8.

Fingal, 20, pleaded guilty to amended charges of involuntary manslaughter and robbery in March.

Because she had few prior convictions, her charges fell into a “border box” on the state’s sentencing grid, meaning the law makes no recommendation between probation and imprisonment.

Fingal’s attorney, Sharon Barnett, in court argued in favor of the less harsh option because of Fingal’s young age, her newborn baby, and because she is less culpable for the killing than her pimp-boyfriend, Isaiah Copridge, who pulled the trigger.

But O’Connor wasn’t convinced.

“I just cannot forget — there’s going to be someone that doesn’t forget that Mr. Baba is dead,” he said.

“Miss Fingal was young, yes, at 19, but not young enough to not know better.”

The announcement drew sniffles and quiet tears from Fingal, who earlier had apologized to the court for her involvement in Baba’s death.

She mouthed a goodbye to her parents as deputies escorted her away in shackles and handcuffs. They were planning to house Fingal and help raise her infant, who was born Dec. 2 during Fingal’s jail stay, if the judge decided to release her on probation, Barnett said before the sentence was imposed.

Baba’s killing was the first on WSU’s campus since 1993. An undergraduate student from Saudi Arabia, Baba met Fingal and Copridge in the parking lot of Fairmount Towers, 2221 N. Hillside, the morning he died after calling Fingal to buy a sexual encounter.

Barnett, in court, said Fingal and Baba had argued over the cost of her services for 15 to 20 minutes before she left his car. When she returned empty-handed to Copridge, he beat her and then pulled a gun, walked over to Baba and shot him.

Fingal and Copridge were arrested Aug. 9 but weren’t formally charged until months later. Initially both faced counts of first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery.

Copridge, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in January and is serving a 21-year prison sentence.

The time Fingal has spent in jail awaiting adjudication of her case will count toward the three-year term. She also can earn time off her sentence if she behaves in prison, O’Connor said.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker