A 36-year-old Omaha man was sentenced to prison Friday for stabbing his wife to death.
Douglas County District Judge Peter Bataillon sentenced Bobby K. Wallace to 40 to 60 years in prison for second-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony and attempted second-degree assault.
Wallace must serve 20 years before he is eligible for parole. Absent parole, he must serve 30 years before release.
On May 25, 2013, LaVern “Nikki” Eubanks, 34, was killed in a domestic disturbance near 33rd and Pratt Streets. In detailing the crime, Bataillon said Eubanks hit Wallace with a frying pan and Wallace grabbed a knife and stabbed her multiple times. She eventually ran to the front yard, the judge said.
When police arrived, he said, Eubanks was on the ground in the yard and Wallace was kicking her in the face.
The couple's children, now ages 5 and 12, and two children Eubanks had prior to marrying Wallace in 2006 witnessed the entire fight and tried to intervene, Bataillon said.
Friday, the children were in school and did not attend the court hearing, Eubanks' family said.
Eubanks died of stab wounds at Creighton University Medical Center. She had been stabbed 22 times.
“It shocks the conscience,” Bataillon said before sentencing Wallace. “It should shock the conscience of a civilized society that this could happen.”
Wallace declined to speak at the hearing, but his lawyer said Wallace regrets Eubanks' death and would take it back if he could.
The couple had a troubled history. Court documents show Wallace and Eubanks each had filed a protection order against the other, but both requests were dismissed by Douglas County judges.
Friends and family of Eubanks filled the courtroom Friday. They wore purple and black T-shirts that read “Justice for Nikki” and featured a photo of her.
Tensions were high between the families of Eubanks and Wallace before the hearing began.
Their voices began to rise as they exchanged comments, but a court official came into the courtroom and warned both sides that if they didn't behave, they would be forced to leave.
About a half-dozen sheriff's deputies then entered and stood on both sides of the courtroom.
After the hearing, Eubanks' sister described Eubanks as a loving person and expressed disappointment at the judge's sentence.
“How do you stab a person 22 times and get 20 years?”