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Update: Matheny Avoids Jury Decision, Enters Alford Plea

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

An Augusta County woman is guilty of murdering another woman by stabbing.

Forty-eight-year-old Tina Matheny of Lexington accepted an Alford plea Wednesday evening in Circuit Court, in the middle of her trial.

She maintains her innocence but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict her.

Matheny killed her longtime friend, 36-year-old Peggy Woods, outside of the Craigsville IGA last March 25. It was caught on surveillance video and shown to the jury.

"She had insisted all along that she was absolutely not guilty that she had done nothing other than defend herself.  But I think as she saw the weight of the commonwealth's evidence over the course of the day she decided that she'd be ... it would behoove her to plead guilty to murder,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin said.

According to authorities, Woods was stabbed with a pocket knife. She died at the scene.

A medical examiner told the court that Woods died from a 2-inch deep stab wound to her throat, which cut her trachea and carotid artery. The victim also had some cuts on her arm.

The incident was caught on surveillance video, and was shown to the jury Wednesday, December 13.

The surveillance video shows Matheny never reached in her pocket to get the knife. The prosecution argued that means she had the knife in her hand when she got out of the truck and before Woods ever pushed her.

Matheny said she couldn't remember taking the knife out. She admitted to handing the knife to her brother, but said, "I don't remember stabbing her."

The defendant watched the surveillance video and said on the witness stand, "I just can't believe I'm the one who done it."

The defense argued Matheny acted out of self-defense, and that Woods had also assaulted her a week prior.

Matheny testified that she and the victim were friends for 20 years.

According to Matheny, Woods and her son kicked the defendant’s brother out of the trailer he was renting from them in Augusta Springs on March 19. Matheny told the jury that she and others went to get the brother from his trailer and pack up his stuff. A fight ensued, and Woods punched Matheny in the stomach.

Fast forward six days, Matheny and others went to get gas at IGA. Matheny said she heard Woods yelling at her as she walked toward the store. She said Woods pushed her and that she pushed back.

Matheny cried on the witness stand, and said she was just trying to get away from Woods, not trying to stab her. She claimed that she applied pressure to Woods’ neck wound.

"She was my friend... my sister," the defendant said.

An earlier witness had testified that after Matheny stabbed Woods, she said, "get back here b-ch, I'm not finished with you."

Sentencing for Matheny is scheduled for May 24 at 9:30 a.m. 

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