An Alameda woman was sentenced to 16 years in a California state prison Friday, Aug. 4, for the 2015 fatal shooting of her then-boyfriend three weeks before Christmas.
Donna Marie Qualls, 55, pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter on July 7, for the killing of Emmanuel Emmett Christy, Sr. She was initially charged with murder. Christy was 73 years old at the time of his death on Dec. 3, 2015.
Qualls’ lawyer, William DuBois, told the courtroom last Friday that his client still misses and loves Christy and “has felt terrible” about the shooting. He argued that Qualls intended to prod the victim with the gun to wake him and the gun went off accidentally.
On the fatal morning, Qualls called 911 and told the dispatcher “I shot him. He’s been hurting me and he told me to give him money.” Officers arrived at the scene of the apartment on the 700 block of Buena Vista Avenue around 10:19 a.m. to find Qualls, who again confessed to the killing and was arrested.
Qualls said the couple had been in a relationship for about 10 years. She said Christy, an Oakland resident, came to her apartment about 6 a.m. and went to one of the bedrooms to lie down, according to Alameda Police Detective Alex Keden, who was at the scene the day of the shooting.
Qualls told detectives she and Christy then argued over money, he punched her in the head and she fell into a bathtub. Qualls said Christy apologized, told her he loved her and went to sleep. But Keden said Qualls said she later stood over Christy, asked him, “Why won’t you leave?” and then retrieved a revolver and ammunition from her son’s bedroom.
Qualls returned to the bed, put the gun to the left side of his head and fired one shot, Keden said.