COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio woman who police say shot a relative to death amid a dispute over a skimpy Easter outfit has been sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. Evelyn Burgess, 42, of Columbus, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of murder in the April 4 death of her 19-year-old cousin, Danielle Pickens.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh sentenced Burgess after saying it’s likely not even she knows why she went after Pickens with a gun, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Burgess did not attempt to explain her actions, but apologized to family members in the courtroom.
“Saying I’m sorry can never fully express how I feel,” Burgess said.
Pickens was fatally shot in a car on Easter Sunday outside Burgess’ house.
Prosecutors said Burgess got into a fight with Pickens over the outfit Pickens wore to Burgess’ home for Easter dinner — jean shorts and a green T-shirt tied up around her midriff.
Burgess “thought the shorts that Danielle was wearing were too short,” Assistant Prosecutor Laurie Arsenault said. “She was upset when she thought that her husband was looking at them.”
Arsenault said Burgess chased Pickens around the house, kicking and punching her and eventually swinging a baseball bat at her. While family members tried to restrain Burgess, Pickens ran outside and got into a car with her sister, who was unable to start the car.
By that time, Burgess had broken free of relatives and followed Pickens outside with a 38.-caliber handgun.
As Ralinda Pickens tried to shield her sister in the car, Burgess pulled the victim by the hair with one hand and fired the gun with the other, the prosecutor said.
Family members did not comment in the courtroom, but Pickens’ mother asked the prosecutor to deliver a statement for her.
“As a mother, she worried constantly about her children … but you shouldn’t have to worry when they’re with family,” Arsenault said in relaying Sheena Pickens’ statement.
The victim’s uncle, Tameico Pickens, released a statement read by a court employee that said the shooting had cost the family two members and left it divided.
“We all wish we could wake up and it was just a nightmare,” the statement said.