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The New Orleans Times-Picayune
Rhonda Bell Staff writer
11 December 1999 ORLEANS
A Metairie woman who was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in the July 1998 shooting of her lover apologized Friday for the attack that left the other woman paralyzed and asked for mercy before a criminal district judge sentenced her to 25 years in jail. Tiffany Schriber, 30, told Judge Julian Parker she was sorry for shooting Maria Hernandez Abril in Abril’s Lakeshore Drive condominium on July 30, 1998. A bullet pierced Abril’s spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed below the waist. Schriber survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the botched murder-suicide attempt. “I want to apologize for everything I’ve put Dr. Abril through, and I’d like to apologize to the court and my friends and family for everything I’ve put them through,” Schriber said. But Parker said he had little sympathy for Schriber, who faced a maximum of 50 years in prison. Parker told Schriber he didn’t believe her defense that she was in a drug-induced haze from antidepressants given to her by Abril.
Parker also admonished Schriber for clinging to an emerald-cut 2- carat diamond ring Abril had given her. The ring became evidence in last month’s trial when prosecutors offered it as proof that Schriber had become accustomed to expensive gifts from Abril and shot her in a rage when Abril tried to end their relationship. Schriber still owns the ring valued between $14,000 and $20,000, although Abril had demanded she return it. Defense witnesses testified that Schriber was a victim of battered women’s syndrome, the target of manipulation and verbal abuse by her lover. Prosecutors Erin Casey and Lynda Van Davis argued that Schriber deserved the maximum sentence. Casey read a letter from Abril’s 8- year-old daughter, asking the judge to keep Schriber in prison long enough for her to feel safe. But defense attorney Arthur “Buddy” Lemann, who is asking for a new trial, charged the prosecutors with playing on jurors’ sympathies, preventing his client from receiving a fair trial. Abril, 46, testified for nearly three hours from a hospital stretcher – even verbally administering aid when one juror collapsed on the second day of the trial. The juror was replaced with an alternate. Parker denied the motion for a new trial, but Lemann is appealing the judge’s ruling to the state’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.