A young mother sobbed and promised the family of the man she stabbed to death during a chaotic confrontation two years ago that she would take it all back if she could. Instead, a judge sentenced her Tuesday to nearly 15 years in prison.
Maggie M. Tyler, 28, stood before Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor and read a letter she had prepared for her sentencing after a jury convicted her in April of second-degree murder in connection with the July 6, 2009, slaying of Vitaly Shevchuk in Spokane. Tyler argued at her trial that she simply was defending herself, but jurors rejected it.
“If I could turn back time, I would do that in a heartbeat,” Tyler said as she cried. “None of this should have happened and I am so very sorry that it did.
“If I could spend 100 years in prison to bring Vitaly back, I would.”
The fatal confrontation began when Tyler joined Matthew M. Nedeau and a third person – who was never charged – for a car ride that led them to the neighborhood at Fifth Avenue and Greene Street. As they drove by, Shevchuk yelled something that prompted Nedeau to stop the car.
A fight ensued in which Nedeau stabbed Shevchuk in the chest, injuring but not killing him. When Nedeau, Tyler and the other passenger tried to drive away, Shevchuk threw a large rock in the back window of their car.
Nedeau drove a short distance then returned to the scene and again confronted Shevchuk, who had grabbed a pipe and was joined by at least two others. During a second scuffle with Nedeau, Tyler joined in and fatally stabbed Shevchuk in the neck.
Defense attorney Kari Reardon asked O’Connor to give Tyler an exceptional sentence downward because Reardon said she was acting in self-defense.
“The reality is that Mr. Shevchuk died,” the judge said. “Obviously, the jury did not believe it rose to the point of self-defense.”
Shevchuk’s mother, Lyudmila Shevchuk, said even after two years she waits for her 24-year-old son to come home.
“I just wish that Maggie will find peace with God,” Shevchuk said, to which Tyler began sobbing.
Tyler’s aunt, Ella Sunday, said Tyler has dealt with the loss of a family member to suicide and both grandparents who raised her to a fatal car collision.
“We understand the pain,” Sunday said. “We love her and we will continue to pray for the Shevchuks.”
O’Connor previously sentenced Nedeau to 21 years in prison. And Tuesday, she sentenced Tyler – who had prior adult felony convictions for drug possession and forgery – to a total of 178 months in prison.
“This has been a difficult trial … and time for both families,” she said. “We are all still wondering why this had to happen. The situation spun out of control for no particular reason.”