A FORMER Virginia Tech university student in the US has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for the 2014 murder of another female student, who she strangled after the victim described their lesbian fling as an “experiment”.
During an eight-hour sentencing hearing on Monday, Jessica Michelle Ewing, 24, gave detailed testimony about the “date night” that lead up to the murder of 21-year-old biology student Samanata Shrestha.
Ewing said that the two had planned a date night at Shrestha’s apartment where they would cook and hang out. According to the Roanoke Times, Ewing said she started the night with high hopes — wearing a dress and bringing wine and whipped cream — but was “disappointed” when Shrestha wore tracksuit pants and a T-shirt.
Shrestha eventually did change into a dress and the two drank a bottle of wine after having a “whipped cream fight” and building a fort out of blankets.
The mood reportedly soured after Ewing made what she called a “poor teasing comment”, calling Shrestha a “spoiled b***h”, at which point the victim retaliated saying that she was just “experimenting” and that she was “toying” with Ewing.
“I loved Sam — I couldn’t believe she would say that I was some experiment to her,” Ewing told the court. “It hit me where I was most hurt.”
Shrestha’s death would later be deemed as strangulation, though blunt force injuries were also discovered on her head and body.
“I made the most horrible decision to cover it all up to hide it,” Ewing said. “I wish I had just called [emergency services], but at that point it was too late.”
Shrestha’s body was discovered stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back seat of her abandoned Mercedes in February last year.
At the time of her arrest, Ewing entered an Alford plea to the first-degree murder of Shrestha. (In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence for a conviction.)
The next day, according to the prosecution, Ewing went to her regular Bible study class and told the host, a student named Erika Holub, that she had murdered somebody.
“They were an EMT. They were a good person,” she allegedly told Holub. Shrestha worked part-time as an Emergency Medical Technician.
According to the Roanoke Times, Judge Robert Turk sentenced Ewing to 80 years for first-degree murder and five years for transporting and concealing a body.
Ewing must serve out 45 years of her sentence before the rest is suspended, and she will remain on probation for 20 years after her release.
She could have received life in prison.