BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (WXYZ) — A petition is headed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's desk soon, and it's asking her to pardon Tina Talbot. The petition now has more than 111,000 signatures.
Talbot was found guilty of shooting and killing her husband in 2018, and was sentenced to 20 months to 15 years in prison.
Former Oakland County Judge Karen McDonald says the case with Tina Talbot really struck a nerve, so much so it was one of the reasons she stepped down from the bench. Now, McDonald is running for Oakland County prosecutor to ensure what happened to Talbot doesn’t happen to anyone else.
"Violent criminals should be in prison," McDonald said. "Tina Talbot is not a violent criminal."
Talbot now sits behind bars at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township, after she was sentence for killing her husband Milosz Szczepanowicz.
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"I don’t understand charging somebody like that with open murder," McDonald said. "It reflects a serious misunderstanding or ignorance of what domestic violence is."
A petition started by Talbot's friends was started shortly after she was sentenced. To date, it has more than 111,000 signatures from all across the globe.
"It’s overwhelming for her to think she has all these people that are supporting her, which is fantastic," Janene Staley said.
Current Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper responded to Talbot's case stating:
My office reduced the murder charge to manslaughter as soon as we were made aware of the extreme domestic violence. Tina Talbot did not have the Hobbesian choice of going to trial on murder in the first degree vs manslaughter. She did have the choice of going to trial on manslaughter or pleading guilty. She killed him in the heat of passion and manslaughter was the proper charge. She did, in fact, take a human life , by placing two bullets in the back of her husband’s head. That is not self-defense. She could have gone to trial on manslaughter, but once she pled guilty, it was up to the trial judge to impose the sentence.
My office took no position on the sentence. I have been an advocate against domestic violence all of my career. And yes, there are many victims of DV who are afraid or who have many reasons why they believe they cannot walk away or avail themselves of the many programs designed for their benefit. In my county, there truly are many alternatives for victims of domestic violence - vigilante justice is not one of them.
Former Oakland County Judge Karen McDonald was involved in the abuse and neglect case against Talbot. She says what happened to her and the sentence handed down didn’t make sense.
"I was deeply disturbed and remain deeply disturbed about the entire case but most importantly the decision to charge her with open murder," McDonald said.
We were the first to talk with TTalbot from behind bars. She told me she and her son Phillip suffered for years at the hands of Szczepanowicz.
"He said I’m going to kill your son and I’m going to do it in front of you and I’m going to watch how you suffer when I slit his throat from one ear..." Talbot recalled her husband saying.
Now, McDonald is running for Oakland County prosecutor, to protect women like Talbot and ensure women in domestic violence situations are protected.
"It’s cases like this and other decisions that have been made and I don’t believe are fair and just, which inspires my to leave a job the job I loved and become a candidate to run for Oakland county prosecutor," McDonald said.
Talbot’s friends say they’re working with the legal team that worked on the Larry Nassar trial. Action News was told they will visit with Talbot in the coming weeks, then eventually get this petition to the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.