XENIA — A Xenia woman will spend 15 years to life in prison for murder.
Tova Wallace-Lee, 21, and Tre’Ana Tarver, 19, met for a backyard fight on a November night last year. Their families came together in one courtroom today.
Tarver was dead. Wallace-Lee was going to prison.
Their families both cried.
A jury took two hours April 24 after a three-day trial to find Wallace-Lee guilty of fatally stabbing Tarver in the heart Nov. 3, 2018 on East Church Street. Wallace-Lee claimed self-defense.
Judge Michael A. Buckwalter sentenced Wallace-Lee April 25 for murder and felonious assault. Upon completion of the sentence, she will be subject to supervision under post-release control. Wallace-Lee has the right to appeal.
Tarver’s family members addressed the court before sentencing.
“I loved Tre’Ana with everything that was in me,” JoAnn Tarver, her grandmother, said. “She would come in the house and she would say, ‘Grandma! Grandma! Where are you, Grandma? Grandma, I love you so much.’ And we would lay in the bed together. We would talk together. We would cry together. We’d sit out on the patio and we would talk about the word of God.”
Other family members came up one by one, describing the young woman, speaking about forgiveness, agreeing that the crime hurt the whole community.
“We can look around — there’s no happy face in this place. There’s none. Tova, you stabbed Tre’Ana through the heart, but there are so many people that ended up bleeding. Your grandma, your grandpa, everybody in this room is bleeding. You may not be able to see it on the outside, but we’re bleeding, we’re bleeding inside,” she continued. “I do know one thing … that we choose to forgive because that’s the greatest thing that we can do. I pray that everybody sitting here, I pray that you choose to forgive … “
Assistant Prosecutor David Hayes said the state was satisfied that justice had been served.
“It’s unfortunate that the argument had to end in Tre’Ana Tarver’s death. But Tre’Ana Tarver is dead because Tova Wallace-Lee broke the law,” Hayes said. “As Tre’Ana’s grandmother said, there were no happy faces in there. And that includes the state. There’s nothing good about any of this. Except that the family can be satisfied that the person who killed their loved one will be in prison.”
Tarver’s mother, Takeeshia Glass, said her daughter graduated from Xenia High School and was a sophomore at Central State, studying chemistry, when she died.
“I just want everybody to remember her as she was: a perky, happy little girl — well, young lady — very smart, always giving people advice. Her little slogan since she’s passed has been ‘Tre’s World’. I just want everybody to remember that it’s Tre’s world,” Glass said outside of the courtroom.
Glass was the last to address Wallace-Lee in court.
“My baby is gone, but I still forgive you, Tova. I still forgive you,” she said, crying. “To the Wallaces — I’m sorry for your loss, as well.”