A Brighton Heights woman who fatally stabbed her husband and then wrapped his body in garbage bags and duct tape in 2020 was sentenced Monday to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison followed by three years of probation.
In June, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski found Janet L. Winbush, 53, guilty but mentally ill on charges of involuntary manslaughter and corpse abuse in connection with the stabbing death of her husband, Deric Davis, in December 2020.
Winbush, a North Side resident who grew up in Grove City, Mercer County, has been held in Allegheny County Jail since March 2021. She appeared in court Monday in a red county jail jumpsuit, with her hands and legs shackled.
As part of her sentence, Winbush must seek mental-health treatment with county officials, Sasinoski said.
Sasinoski barred contact between Winbush and the Davis family, including on social media and “any other means possible.”
During the trial, Winbush said she stabbed Davis once with a steak knife in self-defense after years of domestic abuse. Davis’ family said the courts got the story backward, insisting that Davis was the one being abused.
“For 21 years, this family suffered because of this (expletive),” Stacey Davis, 54, of North Versailles, Deric Davis’ younger sister, said in a statement to the judge. “There wasn’t love. There wasn’t a happy couple. Deric tried to avoid her at every cost.”
“I can’t eat, sleep, some days I can’t stop crying,” said Tyree Davis, Deric Davis’ niece. “I’m asking you for justice for my uncle.”
Wendy Williams, an attorney for Winbush, said during trial that her client had a long, well-documented history of mental illness when she fatally stabbed Davis in self-defense in 2020 after years of domestic abuse.
Prosecutors argued that Winbush planned to kill Davis, then 53, and intentionally hid his body from police. She never reported the stabbing or Davis’ death to police.
Winbush testified that she and Davis fought and hit each other for four to six hours on Dec. 7, 2020, starting around 2 a.m. During the fight, Winbush said Davis grabbed a steak knife and threatened to kill her. She said she kicked him, grabbed the knife and stabbed him once in the chest in self-defense. She said they continued arguing for about an hour.
Davis left the couple’s duplex after the fight. Winbush said she found him dead the next day at the bottom of the house’s steps.
Winbush — who has bipolar disorder and depression and has been hospitalized multiple times for her mental health — went into what an expert called a “traumatic haze” and has no memory of hiding her husband’s body.
Assistant District Attorney Grant Olson said Winbush saw photos of “a half-naked woman” on Davis’ cellphone and believed he was cheating on her. Davis maintained a separate apartment in Wilkinsburg, where he often would spend weekends.
The couple together raised a daughter, a Temple University graduate who is now 23, the family said. Sasinoski told Winbush Monday she can continue to interact with her daughter.
Tyree Davis said she plans to keep fighting Winbush in civil court.
“The whole trial was just disgusting,” she said as she fought back tears outside Allegheny County Courthouse on Monday morning. “My uncle did not deserve what he got. And I will fight for him. There was no justice here today and my family is hurting.”
“The system don’t work,” added Joe Davis, 74, of Wilkinsburg, the victim’s father.
“You take somebody’s life, you’re supposed to pay for it.”
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