Family members of a 19-year-old woman who was stabbed to death in Xenia last year gave emotional statements Thursday before the woman’s killer was sentenced.
Tova Wallace-Lee, 21, was convicted Wednesday of murder and felonious assault in the death of Tre’Ana Larchelle Tarver. On Thursday, Judge Michael Buckwalter sentenced Wallace-Lee to serve 15 years to life in prison, the term mandated by law.
Wallace-Lee declined to make a statement on legal advice. Her attorney Kirsten Knight addressed the court prior to the sentence, stating her client wanted to thank the court for scheduling the sentencing the day after the verdict.
“She does have a number of family members here from out of state. They were here for the trial and they wanted to be present for the sentencing to offer support for her and her family,” Knight said.
On Nov. 3, 2018, Xenia police responded to the report of a fight in the backyard of Wallace-Lee’s home on East Church Street at approximately 11:11 p.m. Officers found Tarver suffering from a stab wound and she was taken to Greene Memorial Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
Wallace-Lee was arrested at the scene and subsequently jailed after admiting to a detective that she stabbed the victim with a knife. Prosecutors presented evidence during the three-day trial that the two had been arguing over a man and made plans to meet at Wallace-Lee’s home to fight that night.
Many of the victim’s family members gave emotional statements during the hearing. They expressed their grief for the loss of their daughter, granddaughter and sister, but also sympathy for the defendant’s family.
“I loved Tre’Ana with everything that was in me. She lived with us. She would come in the house and she would say ‘Grandma? Grandma? Where are you Grandma? Grandma I love you so much,” JoAnn Tarver said. “Tova you stabbed Tre’Ana through the heart, but there is so many people who were left 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 inside.”
JoAnn Tarver turned and addressed others who were in the gallery.
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“I pray that you see that this did not accomplish nothing. So stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” JoAnn Tarver said.
Tova Wallace-Lee is the granddaughter of Xenia councilman Edgar Wallace, who lives in the home where the fight occurred and who was among those who called 911.
Edgar Wallace comforted his family and hugged several members of the victim’s family after the hearing.
“It’s tragic. I’m glad it’s over. I feel grief and pain for the Tarver family and certainly for my family,” Edgar Wallace said.
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