A southwestern Michigan man was sentenced to 19 months to 15 years in prison Monday after leaving his 32-year-old drunken girlfriend Tamika Hurd outside on the porch, in the freezing temperatures between 24 and 27 degrees where she froze to death, according to the Chicago Tribune. On February 21, 2014, Charles Campbell Jr., 49, of Benton Harbor became increasingly upset after his girlfriend came home intoxicated after a night out with her brother.
According to a testimony in court, when Hurd arrived at her home on East Empire Avenue in Benton Township, in which she shared with her boyfriend, she took a shower and went outside on the porch without drying herself off, in the freezing cold weather – wearing jeans and a short-sleeved shirt. Campbell followed behind her with a video camera, capturing his intoxicated, wet girlfriend as she stood outside on the porch and chastised her.
After Investigators viewed the video, they said Hurd appeared to be too drunk to find her way back inside of the house. The Herald Palladium reported that in lieu of Campbell helping her, he could be heard “berating her and belittling her. Then he leaves her on the porch and goes to sleep. She has no phone, and she cannot summon help,” said assistant prosecutor Cortney O’Malley.
The following morning, Hurd was found on the porch, frozen to death. When Hurd’s mother Evelyn Barnes learned of her untimely death, she said “I’m trying to let this go, because I really do want to forgive him, but I cried harder than I’ve ever cried in my life. I couldn’t see for three days, I cried so hard my eyes were swollen shut. I didn’t want to believe it, I wanted it to be a mistake, I wanted it to be wrong but it wasn’t because I went and saw her for myself.”
“When I saw her in the ambulance dead, her hair was all matted, and she was cold as ice and her eyes were all open. I’m still angry that he can do something like that, and I mean how can you take someone’s life and not even care.”
In court, attorney Cortney O’Malley said that he was still angry the following morning that when he went outside “he walks over her, goes to the store, comes home and she’s dead.” Apparently, Campbell didn’t bother to check to see if his girlfriend was okay after being intoxicated and sleeping on the porch in the freezing temperatures overnight.
After hearing O’Malley’s statement, Campbell’s attorney Jim Jesse told the judge that “There’s obviously two sides to every story.” He argued that his client did, in fact, bring his girlfriend inside of their home several times, but her decision to go out onto the porch was her own, just like it was her decision to get herself intoxicated to the point where she was unable to care for herself. Jesse also insinuated that she had a drinking problem and there was a point where Campbell got his girlfriend to stop and start going to church.
Campbell’s attorney added that his client had shown great remorse as he “cries every day in jail.” If he had known that the outcome of showing tough love was going to result in death, he would have gone back outside again and taken her inside instead of falling asleep.
But Judge Pasula disagreed with Campbell’s attorney argument, stating that “he did not try to help her, on this occasion. Her death was avoidable, unnecessary and tragic. There’s a fine line between tough love and compassion. The victim was highly intoxicated and your failure to assist her may have risen to cruelty”
“I’m sorry it happened, but I tried to help her,” Campbell responded. “It hurts me.”
Due to the fact that Charles Campbell pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, he was sentenced to 19 months and 15 years in prison. He has since spent 84 days in jail and according to sources, he will receive credit for those days.
[Image via Berrien County Sheriff Department]