West Ashley man gets 25 years in prison for fatally stabbing wife in front of their daughters
A West Ashley man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to stabbing his wife to death in front of his two daughters at their home two years ago.
Chesley “C.J.” Black, 31, had been charged with murder but pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter under an agreement reached with prosecutors, Chief Deputy 9th Circuit Solicitor Bruce DuRant said.
Black had insisted he acted in self-defense when he killed his wife, 25-year-old Amanda Kalman Black. Prosecutors consented to the plea to avoid having to put Black’s 6-year-old daughter on the witness stand to testify against him, DuRant said.
“She was terrified of him,” he said. “That’s the sole reason we did (the plea).”
Public defender Megan Ehrlich, who represented Black, did not return a call from The Post and Courier seeking comment Tuesday.
The girl, then 4, and her sister, 2, were present in September 2011 when their father stabbed their mother in their Fife Lane home and left her to die, authorities said. Today, the girls live with relatives of their mother.
Black was accused of stabbing his wife in the neck during a violent argument in their home. He then reportedly spent the night there with his daughters while his wife lay dead, her body placed in a downstairs bathroom. Authorities learned of the killing the next day after his eldest daughter told her aunt, “Daddy killed Mommy.”
When detectives first interviewed him, Black said he and his wife had gotten into an argument over money, that he stabbed her and that he put her body in the bathroom to keep their children away, authorities said. The next day, he dropped off his daughters at the home of relatives before he was arrested in Sumter.
Black accused his wife of being the aggressor that night and charging at him with a knife, his attorney has said. He insisted he grabbed the knife from her and stabbed her in self-defense, authorities said.
DuRant said Black’s eldest daughter has maintained from the beginning that her father was the one who went after the knife that night and was the aggressor.
“But after consulting with her adoptive parents, we determined it was best to resolve this without the necessity of putting her on the stand,” he said.
Black’s daughters did not attend Monday’s plea hearing.
Amanda Kalman Black’s uncle, Don Gresh, who adopted the girls, said the family would have preferred to see Black convicted of murder, but it wasn’t worth putting the little girl through the ordeal of testifying. With the sentence, at least the girls will be grown adults by the time Black gets out of prison, he said.
Black will have to serve a little more than 21 years in prison before he is eligible for release, DuRant said.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.