A court sentenced a former Virginia Tech student to 45 years in prison for first-degree murder Monday.
Jessica Michelle Ewing, 24, admitted to strangling Samantha Shrestha, 21, on Feb. 7, 2014, while the pair were having a date night.
Ewing took the witness stand at the sentencing hearing to explain what had provoked her action. She claimed that after the pair had engaged in sexual activity following what The Daily Mail described as a "whipped cream and wine date," Shrestha said that she was just experimenting with Ewing.
“I loved Sam — I couldn’t believe she would say that I was some experiment to her,” Ewing said in court. “It hit me where I was most hurt.”
Ewing entered an Alford plea in February, meaning that while maintaining her innocence, she accepted that the prosecution had enough evidence to have her convicted of murder. This removed the need for a trial.
“I didn’t have any plan,” Ewing said. "I had no intent to kill Sam."
This followed the displaying of a text message by the prosecution which Ewing sent to a friend the day before the murder.
“I can’t stop this idea,” the text message read, "it slowly creeped its way to consume my black heart. I want to let someone else decide, but ive already etched it in history."
Ewing stated that the message referred to her sexuality.
After Shrestha’s death, Ewing concealed the body in a sleeping bag. It was only when Shrestha’s body was discovered in the back of her abandoned Mercedes, and Ewing admitted to a fellow student and Bible study host that she had killed someone, that the incident came to light on Feb. 10, 2014.
“I made the most horrible decision to cover it all up, to hide it,” Ewing told the court. “I wish I had just called 911, but at that point it was too late.”
The court heard how Ewing had been abused as a child, kicked out of the cadets on campus and raped at a party, leading to her being prescribed anti-depressants just two months before she strangled Shrestha.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about why and what occurred,” Judge Robert Turk said during sentencing.
“It created a nightmare that will never go away,” Turk added. “There has to be justice.”
Turk sentenced Ewing to 80 years for first-degree murder and five years for concealing a body. Ewing will serve 45 years before the remainder of the term will be suspended, Turk ruled, but she will remain on probation for 20 years after her release.