Babysitter Guilty of Murder

October 15, 2003  -- Posted at 8:18 AM CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR  --A 20-year-old baby sitter was found guilty of first-degree murder yesterday after admitting to shooting a father she says was abusive toward his then-3-year-old daughter.

The jury took less than an hour to deliver a verdict against Kim Sharp in the slaying last year of 39-year-old Phillip Joiner. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza accepted the jury's sentence recommendation, handing down 40 years in prison, rather than life.

Sharp would be eligible for parole in 28 years. Sharp testified yesterday, admitting that she shot Joiner six times as he arrived at the mother's home for a court-ordered visit with his daughter.

Sharp claimed the mothere had told her about abuse handed down by Joiner. Prosecutors say the abuse allegations were investigated and were not substantiated.

Sharp's lawyer, Jack Lassiter, didn't deny his client killed Joiner. He told jurors in opening statements she had been abused as a child and had a form of mental illness.

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