Woman enters Alford plea to manslaughter in boyfriend's death


An Edgewater woman admitted yesterday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court that she fatally shot her boyfriend after a night of drinking and fighting in the motel room that was their home.

Vicki Lynn Flanagan, 37, entered an Alford plea to manslaughter in the May 13 shooting death of 37-year-old Joseph Boswell. She did not admit she was guilty, but acknowledged that the state had enough evidence to convict her.

Assistant State's Attorney Warren W. Davis III said Flanagan called 911 shortly after 4 a.m. and told a police dispatcher that she had "just shot her boyfriend" in their room at the Mayo Motel in the 800 block of Mayo Road in Edgewater.

Officers found the victim sprawled on the floor of Room 25 with a single gunshot wound in his chest, Mr. Davis said.

As police were reading Flanagan her rights, she blurted out to a neighbor, who had come from an adjacent room, that she had just shot Mr. Boswell because she "couldn't take his beating me anymore," Mr. Davis said. She also later admitted the shooting to police Detective Keith Williams, he said.

Flanagan could be sentenced June 7 to a maximum of 10 years in prison. But in return for the plea, Mr. Davis agreed to request a JTC maximum five-year sentence because of evidence showing that Mr. Boswell abused Flanagan before the shooting, a mitigating factor that reduced the charge from murder to manslaughter.

A neighbor, Susan Crosby, told police that in the hours before the shooting she heard the sounds of slapping, someone being hit with a belt and the voice of Flanagan pleading, "Don't beat me anymore," Mr. Davis said.

Police photos taken after the shooting showed fresh welts on Flanagan's thighs, Mr. Davis said.

Four bullets were found lodged in a dresser in the room, and Flanagan told the court yesterday those shots were fired by the victim earlier in the evening.

The defendant and victim were "stone-cold alcoholics" who lived off Flanagan's Social Security checks, which she received for being disabled by alcoholism, Mr. Davis said.

On the night of the shooting, police smelled alcohol on Flanagan's breath, and Mr. Boswell's autopsy revealed his blood alcohol content to be .35, he said.

Mr. Davis said that when a police investigator went to the jail to meet with Flanagan several weeks after the murder, she cried and said she loved the victim.

But he said the relationship was one of several abusive relationships in Flanagan's life.

"When Joe Boswell stared beating her that night, his face became the face of everyone who had beaten her throughout her life," he said.

Assistant Public Defender Mark Blumberg, one of Flanagan's attorneys, said she was abused sporadically during the 4 1/2 -month relationship and that she remained adamant that she shot the victim after being beaten.

"Mrs. Flanagan will not admit to committing an unlawful killing. Her position is that she was provoked," Mr. Blumberg said.

He said Flanagan had given the .22-caliber rifle used in the shooting to the victim a month earlier, as a birthday present.

Flanagan and Mr. Boswell met after he got out of prison, where he had served 10 years for armed robbery. He returned to the motel where he had lived and found Flanagan living in his old room, Mr. Davis said.

A clerk at the motel yesterday said rooms rent for $128 a week.

Mr. Blumberg said he intends to ask Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. to sentence Flanagan to a three-year term, to run concurrently with the three-year sentence she is serving on a forgery conviction.

But the victim's sister said yesterday that a lenient sentence would not be right, given the seriousness of the offense.

"I would've liked to have seen her get the electric chair," said Janice Gardner of Crofton. "He was my brother, my only brother."

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