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Woman gets 2 years in prison in Marine's death

Dec. 18, 2012 - 10:29AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 18, 2012 - 10:29AM  |  
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NEW ORLEANS — The girlfriend of a Houston man accused of fatally stabbing a decorated Marine wearing his dress blues in the French Quarter has been sentenced to 26 months in prison.

The Times-Picayune reports that 23-year-old Helaina Amrine pleaded guilty this summer to obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact, for helping destroy evidence of the crime.

On Monday, state District Judge Ben Willard offered her credit for the two years she has already served, so Amrine will be eligible for release in a matter of weeks.

Amrine agreed to testify against Melvin Clay, and in exchange prosecutors capped the possible sentence she could serve at five years.

Clay was convicted earlier this month of second-degree murder for the stabbing death of 23-year-old Sgt. Ryan Lekosky, a veteran of Iraq. Clay was driving through the French Quarter, cat-calling women around 3:30 a.m. on Halloween 2010. He passed by Lekosky and his wife walking near the corner of Iberville and Dauphine streets. Clay, according to testimony at his trial, cat-called Lekosky. She was offended and confronted him. He got out of his car and a fight began; Sgt. Lekosky intervened and Clay stabbed him seven times, once in the cheek, another in the back and again in the chest.

Amrine testified that she was at the Metairie hotel where she was staying with Clay. He called her, said he'd been in a fight and if he didn't return in an hour to flee to his relative's house in Houston. When he did arrive at their hotel room, he had blood on his clothes and told Amrine he'd broken the knife into pieces and threw it out along the interstate.

Clay was convicted of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. He is facing a mandatory life sentence, which Willard will impose at a hearing next month.

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