SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - A Monroe County judge has sentenced an Illinois woman to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the fatal shooting of a Tomah man in 2010.
Tammy Cole sat unmoving in the courtroom as she received her sentence in the shooting death of 53-year-old Vance Evans in his home last April. The two knew each other when he lived in Illinois before moving to Tomah.
A jury found Cole guilty of first degree intentional homicide after a trial in March.
Prosecutors argued that she killed Evans after he admitted he was in another relationship.
Her attorneys countered that the gun she was holding accidentally went off while they embraced inside Evans' home.
According to the sentence, she is eligible for parole in 30 years. Friends and family of Evans say the judge's ruling cannot bring him back.
"There was enough light in his eyes to brighten my little world," said Travis Evans, Vance's son. "Now that part of my world is forever dark and cold like the freezer my dad has been laying in for the past 13 months because of [Cole]."
She was also sentenced to 10 years, seven in prison and three on extended supervision, on an arson charge, to be served consecutively to the homicide sentence. What that means is that if Cole ever gets parole on the homicide charge, she must still serve seven years in prison before she could be released.
"[Judge Todd Ziegler] was especially mindful of the potential harm that was out there for members of the community should she be released," said Monroe County District Attorney Dan Cary.
Following the shooting, prosecutors say she disconnected a gas line and tried to set the home on fire. She told investigators she was trying to commit suicide. The gas failed to ignite before authorities arrived at the home.