gavelA 20 year prison sentence was imposed May 20 for a northwest Arizona man who shot and killed his girlfriend in October, 2014. It was the maximum punishment possible under terms of a plea agreement convicting James Collins, 51, Yucca, of second degree murder in the death of Cynthia Horn, 54, Yucca.

Defense attorney Ira Shiflett said Collins admitted drinking at least 14 beers before he killed Horn during an argument near the community of Wikieup. Shiflett said it was cowardly for Collins to drive to the southern Arizona community of Yuma where he buried Horn on family property before fleeing to Mexico.

Judge Billy Sipe scolded Collins for the “self-serving” 14 page letter he wrote to the Court prior to sentencing. Sipe said it was “offensive” for Collins to claim he acted in self defense when he pulled Horn to the ground by the hair and shot here twice in the back of the head.

Sipe said it was ridiculous to claim self defense in what really was an execution.