SCRANTON – Rebekah Hayes of Scranton pleaded guilty on Thursday to stabbing and killing her boyfriend in Lackawanna County.
It was an emotional day in the courtroom for family members of Antwoin Woodard. Woodard’s mother and grandparents sat and listened as Rebekah Hayes admitted to stabbing and killing him. Now the victim’s family says they feel like they finally have some closure.
Rebekah Hayes didn’t have anything to say as she left the Lackawanna County Administration Building on her way to serve eight to 16 years for murdering her boyfriend.
According to court papers, Hayes stabbed Antwoin Woodard in September of 2011 after learning that he was seeing a gay lover. Hayes took responsibility for that, pleading guilty to third-degree murder.
"I was taken back by Antwoin's family and how compassionate and the mercy they showed to Ms. Hayes at the time of sentencing," said Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney Gene Riccardo.
Inside the courtroom Hayes broke down in tears before being sentenced to eight to sixteen years in prison. She turned to Woodard’s family saying, “I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. If I could take this back I would. I really would in a heartbeat."
Hayes attorney says this sentence was lighter than the maximum 40 year sentence, partially due to her troubled past and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It was a situation where you had a young girl that was in poverty, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic issues and it culminated in the events of that day and the defense took that into consideration and so did the prosecutors," said defense attorney Matthew Comerford.
Woodard’s family says it has been painful moving on from what happened inside the home along Oak Street in 2011, but Woodard’s grandmother said on the stand that, “we are people who are full of passion and mercy and we will do our best to put that towards this situation."
Now Woodard’s family says they will move forward, raising Rebekah and Antwoin’s 2-year-old son Zion who they call their silver lining in this tragic situation.
Hayes will serve up to 16 years in state prison with an additional 15 year probation.
Woodard’s family members who were in court didn’t wish to go on camera, but say the plea was difficult but is helping them to move forward with their lives.