ShareThis Page
West Newton man sentenced in fatal knifing |

West Newton man sentenced in fatal knifing

Rich Cholodofsky Tribune-Review
| Tuesday, October 21, 2003 12:00 a.m

Michael D. Lemilliere stood shaking in a Westmoreland County courtroom Monday as he tried to apologize for killing his good friend, with whom he and his family lived for a short time last year after relocating from Florida.

“I’m sorry for such a terrible tragedy for all of us,” Lemilliere said shortly before he learned how much prison time he’d serve for the Aug. 26, 2002, knifing of Anthony Whane Jewett.

Jewett, 42, suffered a rare fatal slash wound to his lower leg during a fight that culminated more than 12 hours of arguing by the men’s spouses. Lemilliere was convicted in June of voluntary manslaughter for stabbing and slashing his friend.

In court yesterday, Westmoreland County Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. sentenced Lemilliere to serve a prison term of seven to 20 years. He faced a maximum penalty of at least 10 years in prison.

Lemilliere’s defense had asked for a shorter sentence.

But McCormick said that although Lemilliere appeared remorseful, he still must pay for his actions that left Jewett dead.

“Your friend died. He bled to death as a result of what you did with that knife. You have to live with that,” McCormick said.

Other than defense attorney Emily Smarto, Lemilliere was alone in court. His wife, Sheryl Smith, and three children, who sobbed uncontrollably at the conclusion of the criminal trial, were not in court yesterday.

The Lemilliere and Jewett families lived together for several months in the spring of 2002 after moving north from Florida to find work. They settled in West Newton and were friends to the day of the fatal knife fight.

At the time of the fight, the Lemillieres and Jewetts lived next door to each other on Water Street in West Newton.

The stabbing came at the end of a day that started with bickering between the men’s wives. When the men returned home from their jobs as welders at a New Florence power plant, the fight between the women continued.

Lemilliere’s wife said at the trial that Jewett initiated the physical confrontation when he struck her several times in the face and that her husband came out of their home in her defense. Jewett’s widow, Sondra, testified that her husband never hit Lemilliere’s wife.

Jewett was stabbed once in the chest and slashed in his chest and leg. Lemilliere attempted first aid, but Jewett bled to death from his leg wound.

Lemilliere at trial contended he acted in self-defense but also suggested his actions were only reckless at worst, and if a crime was committed it was a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter.

By virtue of its verdict, the jury determined Lemilliere acted in the heat of passion but that the killing was not done in cruelty.

Prosecutors contended Lemilliere should have been found guilty of third-degree murder.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.