June 28, 2013
LIMA — A man charged with murdering his girlfriend in 2012 pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter during a court hearing Thursday morning.
Raymond Collins fatally strangled his girlfriend, Teresa Burge, at her Holmes Avenue home in January 2012.
Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed told Collins that by pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, he waived his right to cross-examination during trial and waived his right to appeal the decision. Collins said he understood. A voluntary manslaughter charge is a first-degree felony.
“The state is going to amend the charge, from the murder charge that’s indicted, to a charge of voluntary manslaughter,” Reed said.
Collins’ attorney Jerry Pitts read his plea to the judge; Collins also signed a written statement.
A manslaughter charge usually warrants between three and 11 years in prison. A convicted murderer could serve anywhere from 15 years to life.
Although a first-degree manslaughter charge doesn’t necessary mean prison time, Judge Reed told Collins there’s a chance mandatory sentencing could take effect because Collins may have a prior record in Texas.
If Collins’ charges in Texas are first- or second-degree felonies or the equivalent to Ohio’s, Reed said, Collins automatically could serve between three and 11 years in prison.
Otherwise, community control — much like probation — is a possibility.
“In terms of knowing if your prior offenses are felonies of the first- or second- degree, or the equivalent to a felony of the first- or second-degree, there is a mandatory prison sentence. I have to send you to prison, anywhere from three to 11 years.
A sentencing hearing for Collins is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 5.