A 38-year-old New York man, Nixon Bourguignon, claimed that the sleeping pill Ambien made him sleepwalk and murder his girlfriend back in May of 2014. The man was accused of murdering his girlfriend and mother of his child, 29-year-old Shannon Coleman. The woman was found strangled to death in her home but her boyfriend Nixon Bourguignon, the father of her son, claimed that he didn’t remember strangling Shannon, but instead had murdered her while he slept due to taking Ambien sleeping pills.
The Daily Mail reports that Nixon Bourguignon was finally sentenced for the 2014 murder of girlfriend Shannon Coleman. The young woman was found strangled to death in her home while her young children slept in a room nearby. The strangulation was apparently at the hands of her boyfriend and the father of her son, Nixon Bourguignon. Though Nixon did not outright deny that his hands had strangled his girlfriend, the man claimed that he had no memory of strangling the woman as he had taken Ambien sleeping pills the night before. Nixon says he “hates himself” for what he did to Shannon and that he is sorry.
“I am sorry that I took her away from everybody. I hate myself. I wish every day I could switch places with Shannon. I love Shannon very much.”
According to Nixon’s defense attorney, the man had taken Ambien sleeping aides the night before and that the pills made him “violent” and that he was sleepwalking when he murdered Shannon. The defense claimed that due to the Ambien use, Nixon didn’t remember any of the killing and therefore could not be held accountable for those actions as he was under the control of the drug.
However, the court disagreed and Nixon was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for strangling Shannon. The Coleman family says that Nixon was fully aware of his actions and that he not only killed their loved one, but did so in a manner that amounts to nothing short of torture. It was revealed during the trial that Nixon had not only strangled Shannon during the murder, but did so repeatedly. He allegedly held Shannon’s neck tightly until she would become unconscious, he would then release her and allow her to regain consciousness only to strangle her once more. After repeating this multiple times, as Shannon was likely fully aware of what was happening, he strangled her to death.
In an interview with LoHud, Shannon’s brother explained that it has been incredibly difficult to explain to his sister’s children what happened to their mother and that he misses his sister deeply.
“She had the ability to light up a room with her presence,. We’ve been in disarray with the loss of Shannon. It’s very difficult to speak to her children, who ask questions about their mother.”
Shannon’s sister Sophia Coleman said that even life in prison isn’t enough for the death of her sister as she noted that “even if you give him a million years it won’t bring Shannon back.” The prosecution noted during the trial that it was not Ambien that influenced Nixon to kill Shannon but rather his rage that she had planned to leave him. According to the prosecution, this was an act of domestic violence that ended with Shannon’s death, not a drug side-effect gone terribly wrong.
Despite a guilty verdict, Nixon’s attorney says that justice as not served as he believed the jury was wrong to convict his client who was not guilty due to the fact he was not fully aware of his actions during the murder due to the Ambien.
What do you think of the defense that Nixon was unaware of his actions due to Ambien use? Did the jury make the right decision?
[Image via Shutterstock]