CUMBERLAND — Former Frostburg State University student Shanee Liggins was sentenced to serve 14 years in prison Monday for the November 2011 stabbing death of fellow student Kortneigh McCoy outside an off-campus Frostburg residence.
Liggins appeared in Allegany County Circuit Court before Judge W. Timothy Finan, who sentenced Liggins to 20 years in prison with six years suspended.
The judge also ordered Liggins to serve five years of supervised probation upon being released from prison.
Liggins entered a plea of guilty to second-degree murder in circuit court in December in a plea agreement. A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered at that time.
State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg had recommended a sentence of 14 years of actual incarceration when the court accepted the plea agreement in which the state dismissed all other charges.
Conviction of second-degree murder carries a maximum prison term of 30 years and the guidelines for a sentence of 10 to 20 years.
Just before the judge imposed the sentence, Liggins expressed her sorrow to the McCoy family, friends and supporters.
“I apologize from the the bottom of my heart that she (Kortneigh) is not here with you,” she said. Liggins also said in various comments that “I wish she was here for you ... I am sorry you had to go through all this .... I just wanted to say I am sorry ...”
Liggins also told the McCoy family that she hopes they find peace and that she, Liggins, prays for them.
The hour-long hearing included a victim’s impact statement from Kara McCoy, Kortneigh’s mother, as well as Kortneigh’s best friend, Wayne.
Kara McCoy said, “I gave birth to Kortneigh when I was 18 and, in some respects, we grew up together which made our bonds strong.
“I miss my daughter very much. I miss the way she threw herself on me like a toddler. I miss her excitement for life ... and how happy her sister and I were to visit her at Frostburg ... I feel like we were robbed.”
Kara McCoy made various other comments concerning the depression she now suffers with the loss of her daughter.
In his comments, John Cox, Liggins’ attorney, said, “This is one of the more senseless cases I have been involved in and I have been involved in more than 50 murder cases.
Cox addressed the court at length on behalf of his client and asked for a lesser sentence than what the state had recommended. Cox also called Joyce Liggins, Shanee’s mother, to the witness stand.
“I always pray for you and not one day goes by that I don’t think about you and your family,” she said to the McCoy family. She repeatedly expressed her sympathy to the McCoy family.
After her comments, Joyce Liggins unexpectedly walked to where Kara McCoy was seated in the courtroom and hugged her. McCoy was overcome with emotion and exited the courtroom with the aid of her family. She returned minutes later to witness the rest of the hearing.
The court also heard from a man who had performed volunteer work with Liggins.
Liggins was taken to the Allegany County Detention Center to await transfer into the custody of the Division of Correction.
Liggins was 23 and enrolled as a senior business major at FSU at the time of the fatal incident.
McCoy, 19, of Baltimore, died of multiple stab wounds at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center after she was found lying on the ground outside a Maple Street residence at about 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2011.
An engineering student at FSU, McCoy suffered fatal injuries when she became involved in an altercation with Liggins. The two women reportedly argued inside the residence prior to the fight that took place outside and near the corner of College Avenue and Maple Street, located just across the street from the FSU campus.
Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.