A blind and mentally disabled Nebraska woman who violated her probation for manslaughter has been sentenced to seven to 15 years in prison.
Angelic B. Norris was sent Monday to the Nebraska Correctional Center in York after a judge found her guilty of breaking probation.
In her sentencing order, Saunders County District Judge Mary Gilbride said Norris would be eligible for parole in 3½ years.
Norris, 38, failed to follow the rules of a Bellevue facility that provides support to people with mental illness, said Thomas J. Klein, Saunders County public defender. The facility declined to take her back.
“We tried several times to find another facility that would take Angie, but there was nothing available,” Klein said.
“Truly she isn't an individual who needs to be in a correctional institution, but when it comes down to being homeless on the street or in (the York facility), then she is better off in York.”
Klein said Norris, who has no family members, was not placed among the general prison population.
“She's in segregation for safety reasons because she would be an easy target for the other inmates,” he said.
She is in her room for perhaps 20 hours a day, he added.
Norris pleaded no contest to manslaughter after Elizabeth Collins, 56, was fatally injured Sept. 18, 2010, at an assisted-living facility in Wahoo.
During an argument, Norris pushed Collins, who fell backward and struck the back of her head.
Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff recommended probation after consulting with the victim's family. He said there was “zero chance” that Norris meant to injure Collins, who was her friend.
Norris was given five years' probation and sent to live at a facility run by John Pinkerton in Omaha. He said Norris asked to move out about 1½ years ago.
Prison “may be the best thing for her or it may not, but it allows the system to control her,” Pinkerton said. “Our jails and prisons are full of mentally ill people, though, and there should be a better way to help them.”