Levearn Simmons

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A mother of three from River Rouge has been sent to state prison for a crime she says forensic science proves she did not commit.

After 31-year-old Levearn Simmons was found guilty of manslaughter by Wayne County Circuit Court jury, Judge James Callaham announced a sentence of three to fifteen years, a term to be served in a woman’s correctional facility, despite the fact that Simmons had no prior criminal record.

The woman’s attorney Carl Jordan insists the jury made a mistake by ignoring a toxicology report that says the victims death was caused by an overdose of the powerful prescription drug Doxepin and not blunt force trauma suffered in a fight as assistant Wayne County prosecutor Christine Kowal said and the county’s Chief Medical Examiner Carl Schmidt testified.

It took forensic expert Dr. L. J. Dragovic, the Oakland Co. medical examiner, to tell the jury about the overdose that was detected by a Wayne County toxicologist.

The victim was 27-year-old Michelle Kusnierz of Flat Rock, a mother of four children whose drug addiction and her theft of family vehicles lead to a fight between the two women, just hours before Michelle was found unresponsive at the home of a friend in Southwest Detroit.

“This is a very tragic incident,” said the Judge. while addressing Simmmons at her sentencing, “where, now, seven children are going to be without a mother, four because their mother was killed by you and three, because their mother is going away to prison."

Simmons’s claims she was only trying to help Michelle walk away from a life of chasing illegal drugs because Simmons’s brother, Martin, had been dating Michelle for years, and they had two children together. She also went looking for Michelle to recover the van she had stolen.

“I’m sorry” Simmons told the court. “I did not mean to hurt her, honestly with all my heart. I went to help her. My mom was on drugs for ten years, and when her mom asked me for help, I remembered what I went through with her problem.”

Simmons plans to appeal.

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