Suspect in fatal stabbing pleads guilty to murder

Nora Edith Thomas, 29, to be sentenced March 3

In this Feb. 9, 2016 file photo, Nora E. Thomas speaks to Assistant Public Defender Eric Hedland during her arraignment in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday for the death of 50-year-old Christopher K. Kenney in 2014. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

A 28-year-old woman arrested more than a year after a fatal stabbing in 2014 has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

 

Nora Edith Thomas, a former Juneau resident, took a plea agreement in return for a proposed sentence that would net her 16 years in prison.

Thomas was arrested last January in connection with the stabbing death of 50-year-old Christopher K. Kenney. She initially pleaded not guilty but changed her plea in late December. She pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree, with intent to cause serious injury; a second count of second-degree murder, but for “knowingly engaging in conduct that resulted in death while showing indifference to human life,” will be dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Second-degree murder is an unclassified felony that can carry up to 99 years in prison. Thomas’ potential sentence, according to court notes from the change of plea hearing, is 36 years with 20 years suspended, which is 16 to serve. During the hearing, Juneau Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp said Thomas could end up serving a little more than a decade, even with “good time” credit (a Department of Corrections policy that knocks off time to serve for good behavior behind bars) and added that Kenney’s family was aware of the agreement.

“I want to make clear I never met anybody as remarkable as these people in terms of their ability to forgive,” Kemp said of the victim’s family members.

Thomas is set for sentencing on March 3.

Kenney was found Nov. 29, 2014, with knife injuries inside the Gruening Park apartment in the 1800 block of Northwood Drive that he shared with Thomas, who was his girlfriend. He died later that day at Bartlett Regional Hospital.

According to the police complaint, Thomas initially told police officers that Kenney slipped and fell on a knife while washing dishes. She eventually told a JPD detective who traveled to Wasilla to interview her a year after the incident that she stabbed Kenney but that she didn’t “remember the moment when the knife went into Kenney’s chest.” She said she was angry that he woke her at 4 a.m. to make him breakfast and they argued, with Kenney shoving her. According to the complaint, Thomas said she picked up a knife and began swinging it at Kenny, who was fending her off with a chair, and didn’t realize she had stabbed him until she saw the knife wound.

Thomas reportedly told the detective that she then went into the bedroom to get dressed and came back out to find Kenney trying to leave the apartment and call for help. She said she pulled him back inside the apartment, where he laid down before she called 911. She said she did not intend to kill him, the complaint read.


Reporter Liz Kellar can reached at 523-2246 or at liz.kellar@juneauempire.com


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