Man sentenced to 50 years in Lexington slaying

Edward Stokley, found guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the April 2009 shooting death of Lavena Gibson, was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison.

Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced Stokley to 20 years on a first-degree manslaughter charge, but the sentence was increased to 50 years because he is a persistent felony offender. Stokley would be eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of his sentence.

The judge followed sentencing recommendations made by the jury that convicted him in November.

Stokley, who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Gibson, shot Gibson, who had decided to leave him, when she returned to the Bishop Drive home they had shared to retrieve her belongings, according to testimony during the trial.

Gibson, 25, died in surgery at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.

Stokley, 35, did not deny shooting Gibson.

On Friday, Lexington public defender Tom Griffiths asked Goodwine to dismiss the persistent felony offender count and impose a 20-year sentence for the manslaughter charge. He told the judge increasing the sentence would be "cruel and unusual punishment."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Andrea Williams asked that the persistent felony offender charge stay, saying Stokley had a violent bank robbery in his past.

The judge denied the defense's motion.

Stokley also pleaded guilty Friday to being a felon in possession of a handgun. He waived formal sentencing on that charge and Goodwine sentenced him to five years. The gun sentence will run concurrently with the other sentence.

Griffiths said he would be filing an appeal. The defense attorney said Stokley was full of sorrow and pain before and during his trial. Griffiths said this was a terrible event for everyone involved.