A 43-year-old Macon man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday morning for killing his wife last year during a domestic dispute.
Bernard Rhodes, of Pio Nono Avenue, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Bibb County Superior Court. Rhodes initially was charged with murder.
Cynthia Rhodes, 35, died at The Medical Center of Central Georgia on Oct. 25, 2009, two days after being shot in the head at Bernard Rhodes’ brother’s house on May Place, prosecutor John Regan said.
Authorities have said Cynthia Rhodes was in a coma before her death.
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Bernard Rhodes’ brother told police he heard the couple fighting, then heard a gunshot, Regan said.
Bernard Rhodes initially told police his wife had pulled a gun, which went off during a struggle. He later said he got control of the gun and pulled the trigger, Regan said.
Regan said Rhodes admitted he had been drinking before his wife got home from work.
“This is an occasion where guns and alcohol don’t mix,” Regan said.
Rick Waller, Rhodes’ attorney, said Rhodes “deeply regrets” what happened.
“This case is a tragedy for all involved,” he said.
Waller said Rhodes has no prior felony record.
Rhodes entered his plea in accordance with a joint sentencing recommendation from the prosecution and defense that Rhodes not be sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. A person convicted of voluntary manslaughter can be sentenced to between one and 20 years in prison.
In addition to his prison sentence, Rhodes must serve eight years on probation and perform 100 hours of community service.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.