Brice Webb. (Photo provided)
By WSBT News1
Story Created: Jun 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM EDT
Story Updated: Jun 21, 2010 at 2:07 PM EDT
SOUTH BEND — A man convicted of fatally shooting his girlfriend in the face during an argument last year received a 95-year prison term today in St. Joseph Superior Court.
Judge Jerome Frese sentenced Brice Webb, 25, to 65 years for murder, the maximum allowable under statute, plus 30 years for being an habitual offender.
A jury last month convicted Webb of murdering Cherlyn Reyes, 21, in October in the bathroom of her Lincoln Way East apartment. She had been talking on the phone with a friend when Webb pulled the gun on her.
"Brice, don’t! Brice, no!" her friend recalled hearing her say, followed by the sound of a gunshot.
Webb then ran from the apartment.
The couple had two children together, one of whom was a newborn at the time. They had given up both children in an open adoption.
"Those children are going to have to find out their mother is not around because their father killed her," Frese said before announcing the sentence. "I don’t know how they’re going to get around that. They’re going to need a lot of love."
Before testifying today, Reyes’ mother, DeeAnn Slowiak, handed Frese several photos of Reyes and her children, and one of Reyes and her father, Donald Slowiak, who died Sunday of pancreatic cancer.
She visited him often and her death had worsened her father’s final days, Slowiak told the judge.
"How can I even begin to explain the impact of losing my first born, my best friend, my princess?" Slowiak said. "I feel like I’ve had to learn to live life all over again."
In a prior Mishawaka case, Reyes had told police Webb had punched her in the stomach while she was pregnant, only to later recant when it came time to prosecute. In another case, Webb was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic battery charge involving Reyes in Elkhart County.
"Your temper bruised her physically and emotionally," her mother said to Webb. "She died trying to love you, and how did you return her love? You murdered her."
Reyes’ cousin, Valarie Reyes, also took the stand. Sobbing, she said Webb deserves no compassion.
"How much compassion did you show her when you left the woman you loved and mother of your children to die, lying on the bathroom floor in her own blood?" Reyes said.
Webb sat expressionless throughout the hearing, and declined to testify himself because of anti-depression medication he is taking, said his public defender, Anthony Luber.
Aside from the two children with Reyes, Webb has fathered five other children, and has a paternity petition for a sixth possible child pending in probate court.
"What in the name of God are we doing?" Frese said, rubbing his eyes and forehead in apparent exasperation. "We’re now going to have at least seven kids who won’t be raised by their biological father. Those kids are going to suffer. That is sad."