TOMS RIVER — A woman accused of stabbing her fiance and then leaving him in a car outside a hospital last year has pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter.

Ciara Williams, 27, of Brick, initially was charged with murder in the death of Dennis Power. However, the couple had a long history of domestic violence and Ocean County prosecutors said Thursday that “legitimate self-defense claims” and other issues which arose during the subsequent investigation led them to make a plea deal.

The stabbing occurred while the couple argued in their apartment on Sept. 29. Williams then drove Power to the hospital before returning to the apartment and cleaning it, prosecutors have said, adding that she then avoided authorities for more than 24 hours.

Power, 35, was unconscious but still breathing when hospital staff found him in the vehicle, but he died shortly afterward.

In court, Williams admitted that she did not not Power was going to kill her, but that "he was just going to beat me up, like he always does," according to the Asbury Park Press coverage of the hearing on Thursday. “I just wanted him to stop.

“I didn’t think he was going to kill me,’’ she said. “I thought he was just going to beat me up, like he always does.’’

Williams will be sentenced Sept. 4.

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