Woman who stabbed fiance in the heart is freed from prison by Christie
A woman who stabbed her drunken fiancé in the heart days before their wedding was sprung from prison Friday by Gov. Chris Christie.
Lisa A. Pyatt, 50, was among 26 people granted clemency by Christie in his last week in office.
Pyatt was serving a 40-year prison sentence for the June 19, 1991, slaying of 32-year-old Kevin Patric McGowan in their Point Pleasant Beach home.
Christie commuted her sentence to time served, freeing her six years before her earliest parole eligibility.
Christie pardoned 25 other people this month, mostly for drug and weapons offenses. The crimes range from the serious and violent to misdemeanors adjudicated in municipal courts – the records of which can prevent people from obtaining employment long after they've turned away from lives of addiction and crime.
Christie’s office on Friday did not explain the reasons behind his decisions, saying only that they were "in keeping with the Administration’s policies of creating second chances for deserving individuals.”
During Christie's two terms in office, he has granted clemency to 55 people.
Also among those pardoned Friday was a Marine veteran from Virginia who was convicted of possessing a legally owned gun without a New Jersey permit. Christie already had spared Hisashi K.D. Pompey, a Marine, from going to prison on a five-year sentence. Christie's pardon now clears Pompey's conviction.
Last month, Christie pardoned a former state contractor whose family business had been donated thousands of dollars Christie and Republicans.
During trial, Pyatt admitted stabbing her fiancé even though she had attempted to clean up the knife before her arrest and had told police several conflicting stories about what had happened.
Her attorney argued that she stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense and that she suffered from battered woman’s syndrome from a string of abusive former relationships. During trial, the defense argued that McGowan had often beat Pyatt, sometimes in public. But Pyatt never pressed charges. Prosecutors challenged the battered-woman defense and the Ocean County jury ultimately rejected it.
On the afternoon of the slaying, the couple had argued because Pyatt had not wanted a drunk McGowan to drive home from the Europa South restaurant, where the two had met to finalize arrangements for their wedding reception, according to the defense.
A neighbor recalled seeing the couple struggle on the porch moments before the stabbing, which happened in the couple’s apartment. Pyatt had bruises on her neck from McGowan grabbing her, her attorney argued, but prosecutors suggested the injuries were self-inflicted.
Pyatt also was convicted of theft by deception, forgery and writing bad checks worth $75,000 or more — convictions that were not affected by Christie’s clemency.
Pardons announced Friday
— Adrian Rubio. April 14, 2016, charge of unlawful possession of handgun in Camden County.
– Altorice D. Frazier. October 16, 1994, charge of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing drugs in Union County. March 22, 1997, charge of possession of drugs in Union County. June 16, 1997, charges of drug possession and paraphernalia in Essex County. September 28, 1997, charge of harassment in Union County. April 9, 1998, charge of distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of school property in Union County. June 6, 1998, charge of manufacturing, distribution of drugs in Union County, Nov. 14, 1998, charge of manufacturing drugs in Bergen County. Jan. 2, 1999, charges of drug possession and certain persons not to have weapons in Union County.
— Amy M. Armbruster. July 3, 2001, charge of harassment in Wildwood. July 31, 2001, charge of possession of drugs in Cape May County. July 6, 2002, charge of conspiracy to possess drugs in Cape May County. Jan. 23, 2004, charge of using or possession of paraphernalia in Wildwood.
— Angel Manuel Cordero. Sept. 30, 1986, charges of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and bail jumping in Camden County. July 27, 2002, charge of unlawful possession of a handgun in Camden County.
— Anthony S. Giarratano. May 7, 2011, charges of robbery, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon in Somerset County.
— Antonio J. Scott. Aug. 22, 2010, charge of unlawful possession of weapon in Gloucester County.
– Brandon Michael Fregm. March 9, 2015, charge of unlawful possession of a handgun in Somerset County.
— Brian D. Aitken. Jan. 2, 2009, charge of unlawful possession of dum-dum bullets in Burlington County. Feb. 23, 2009, charge of simple assault in Mount Laurel.
— Brian Murphy. Aug. 7, 2015, charge of of unlawful possession of weapon in Bergen County. Murphy had been admitted into pretrial intervention.
— Christopher Charles O’Sullivan. Nov. 1, 2015, charge of unlawful possession of a handgun in Burlington County.
— Daniel Edward Nealis. Oct. 7, 2006, charge of possession of drugs in Morris County. Dec. 6, 2006, charge of robbery in Morris County. Dec. 27, 2006, charge of receiving stolen property in Morris County.
— Daniel Gonzalez. May 27, 1989, charge of possession of drugs with intent to distribute in Essex County. And the same charge on June 27, 1990.
— Enrico Imbrogno Jr. Jan. 20, 1987, charge of possession of drugs with intent to distribute in Atlantic County.
— Hisashi K.D. Pompey. Dec. 26, 2011, charge of unlawful possession of a weapon in Bergen County.
— Jane Dwyer Lee. DWI charge in a car accident on Dec. 19, 1993 in Newark.
— John D. Pjeternikaj. Sept. 17, 1982, charge of arson in Bergen County. Jan. 11, 1983, charge of unlawful sale of weapon in Bergen County.
— John L. Twist II. April 2, 1992, charge of receiving stolen property in Berkeley. Jan. 25, 1994, charge of burglary in Ocean County. Nov. 17, 1994, charge of burglary in Ocean County.
— Joseph T. Molnar. Sept. 29, 2006 manufacturing, distribution, and dispensing drugs in Middlesex County.
— Julia Spolarics Buccini. Sept. 13, 2001, and Oct. 11, 2001, charges of theft and theft by deception in Union County.
— Larissa L. Remo. Nov. 22 1998, juvenile charge. March 23, 2002, charge of possession of drugs in Sussex County. June 1, 2002, charge of writing bad checks in Franklin Borough. June 17, 2002, charge of drug-related wandering in Paterson. Nov. 8, 2003, charge of shoplifting in Jefferson. Feb. 27, 2004, charge of using or possession of drug paraphernalia in Newark.
— Meghan Fellenbaum. Oct. 4, 2016, charges of unlawful possession of handgun and dum-dum bullets in Warren County.
— Porfirio Antonio Escobar. Sept. 3, 1987, charge of possession of drugs in Morris County. Nov. 4, 1987, charge of assault in Morris County. Nov. 19, 2005, charge of drug-related loitering in Morris County.
— Steven J. Pngratz. Nov. 25, 1989, charge of receiving stolen property in Somerset County. Feb. 6, 1990, charge of damage to property in Montgomery. June 8, 1990, charge of damage to property in Hillsborough. Feb. 21, 1991, charges of resisting arrest and conspiracy to commit a drug offense in Somerset County.
— Thomas Szaro. Feb 23, 1993, possession of drugs in Middlesex County. Nov. 8, 2004, charge of conspiracy to possess drugs in Middlesex County.
— Tommy D. Odom Jr. June 10, 1993, charge of aggravated assault in Hudson County. Jan 3, 1996, possession of drugs within 1,000 yards of school in Hudson County.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.