Woman sentenced to 3 years for stabbing friend to death

Posted at 11:03 AM, July 11, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Court TV) — A young woman who stabbed a teenager to death during a fight was sentenced to three years in jail, the maximum allowed under a plea agreement she reached with the prosecution.

Bryanna Barozzini addresses the court

Bryanna Barozzini addressed the court during her sentencing hearing on July 11, 2024. (Court TV)

Bryanna Barozzini, 20, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter after she was initially charged with the murder of Halia Culbertson, 17, who was stabbed to death on March 26, 2023. Prosecutors conceded that Culbertson had been the antagonizer in the incident that led to her death, saying that she had challenged Barozzini to a fistfight after the two ran into each other in a smoke shop.

When asked to leave the store, Culbertson waited for Barozzini outside. When Barozzini exited, Culbertson continued to push for a fistfight and slapped Barozzini in the face. Surveillance videos shown in court showed Barozzini step back after she was hit before wielding a knife and attacking.

“She didn’t want to engage at all,” Barozzini’s attorney said during sentencing. “She was afraid.”

Culbertson’s mother addressed the court with an emotional victim impact statement, telling the judge that Barozzini’s actions amounted to a “heartbreaking betrayal of young life taken by someone who was once a best friend. My daughter was not killed by a faceless stranger, but by a person who was once trusted and loved, a friend who knew her, understood her, shared countless moments of her life. This betrayal makes the loss even more profound, as it was not a random act of violence but a calculated decision made by someone who was supposed to protect and cherish her.”

Prosecutors told the judge that Barozzini was motivated by rage, and urged him to sentence her to the maximum available sentence. Had Barozzini been convicted of murder charges, she would have faced a sentence of life in prison. The maximum sentence for the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter was three years.

Addressing the court before she was sentenced, Barozzini said, “Not a day goes by this incident hasn’t been on my mind. … I can understand and appreciate the harm I have caused now. I will be living with this guilt the rest of my life.”

WATCH | Bryanna Barozzini Sentenced for Friend’s Stabbing Death

The three year sentence wasn’t enough for Culbertson’s mother, who told the judge, “This is not just a matter of justice for a victim. It’s recognizing the deep personal breach of trust, the devastating impact such a loss has on a family. My daughter’s death is a stark reminder of how trust can be shattered in the most unexpected ways. And it’s vital for the court to consider this profound betrayal as part of the pursuit of justice for her.”

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