PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (WWSB) - A woman who was initially charged with second degree murder following a domestic incident in Port Charlotte last November will not face jail time after pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Deputies responded to the 2200 block of Lake View Blvd last November after 34-year-old Ashley Britto fatally stabbed her boyfriend, Justin Burton. The sheriff’s office arrested her for second degree murder, but prosecutors later changed the charge to manslaughter. Then Monday, Britto pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, after prosecutors changed the charge a second time.
Court documents say Britto and Burton had been fighting all day in arguments fueled by Burton’s drinking before he struck her in the face with a McDonald’s bag and she fatally stabbed him.
Britto’s defense attorney argued that had she not pleaded guilty, a stand your ground or battered spouse defense could have been used. The couple had a long history of domestic incidents, including one incident where Burton choked Britto until she lost consciousness. Court documents indicate a forensic pathologist determined Britto suffers from PTSD as a result of the abuse.
Britto will be placed on probation and have to pay court fines. She’ll be required to attend therapy and undergo a substance abuse evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment.
The judge withheld adjudication on the charge Britto pleaded guilty to, meaning that if she successfully completes her probation, the case will end with no formal conviction.