Neighbors: 96-year-old Murder Suspect Didn't Want to go to a Home | Crime

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Neighbors: 96-year-old Murder Suspect Didn't Want to go to a Home

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The 96-year-old woman arrested for killing her nephew will remain in jail with no bond.

The shooting happened Sunday night at a home on John Street, though it was initially reported as a heart attack.

Police found 53-year-old John W. Rice on the floor of a bedroom with evidence of a shooting.

According to Officer Mark Samson with the St. Augustine Police Department, investigators determined Rice's aunt, 96-year-old Amanda Rice Stevenson, had shot him once with a .357 magnum.  She was in another bedroom when police were in the home.

Neighbors like Debra Dillinger are calling this a tragedy. 

"It's really sad because he's a nice man," said neighbor Debra Dillinger.  "He's helped us and we've helped him over the years."

Several people who live nearby said the family was working to put Stevenson into a nursing home because she had become combative and angry. 

Dillinger believes that's where the 96-year-old should go now. 

"What kind of justice can you get from a 94- or 96-year-old?  I mean, she's not going to live long enough to be punished very much.  Put her in a home, keep her away from people.  That's about all you can do.""

The initial news release from police indicated the victim was her son, but in court it was clarified that Rice is Stevenson's nephew.

Rice's wife told police she had left the home at 5:30 while Rice was in the living room watching football.

She said she returned shortly before 9 to find her husband on the floor of the bedroom.

Samson said neighbors told police they heard what sounded like a car door slam around 6 p.m.

Stevenson was taken into custody on a charge of willful homicide.

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office website, Stevenson has two prior arrests in St. Johns County.  One of those arrests was in 1995, the other was in 2007.  It does not list what charges she faced. 

In her first appearance in court this morning, Stevenson was assigned an attorney from the public defender's office.


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