Photo by Alexander Nguyen
Photo by Alexander Nguyen

A Reseda killer was sentenced Monday to 56 years to life in prison for slashing the throat of his live-in girlfriend at their Reseda apartment four years ago during a passionate argument.

James W. Howard Jr. was found guilty in December of first-degree murder in the Feb. 2, 2012, killing of Sharilit Matthews.

It was his second trial. Howard’s September 2013 conviction for Matthews’ killing was overturned by a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.

In its Feb. 2, 2015, ruling, the panel found that the prosecution’s argument involving the standard of provocation necessary for manslaughter was “misleading” in Howard’s first trial and that “some highly prejudicial evidence,” including his “rather detailed sex messages” with a transsexual man, had been improperly admitted.

Howard testified during his first trial that he had killed his girlfriend in the heat of passion during an argument.

Matthews — whose throat was slashed — was found dead eight days after she was killed.

— Wire reports 

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