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Man who pushed girlfriend off cruise ship balcony to her death gets 12 years in prison

2020-07-11

A Kansas man who admitted to murdering his longtime girlfriend by pushing her off a cruise ship balcony during a Bahamas vacation has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, authorities announced Wednesday.

Eric Newman, 55, strangled the woman and then shoved her over a 13th-floor balcony railing, causing her to fall onto a deck area on the 11th floor, federal prosecutors said.

He and the victim, Tamara Tucker, were traveling from Florida to the Bahamas on the Carnival Elation cruise ship when they got into an argument just after midnight on Jan. 19, 2018. The couple had boarded the ship in Jacksonville a day earlier to celebrate her 50th birthday.

The vessel was in international waters, about 30 nautical miles from Florida’s New Smyrna Beach, when Newman brutally ended his girlfriend’s life. Tucker’s cause of death was found to be blunt force trauma as a result of the fall.

The Topeka resident pleaded guilty in December to one count of second-degree murder with malice aforethought.

A federal judge on Wednesday also sentenced him to five years of supervised release, following his time behind the bars, and ordered him to pay about $8,500 in restitution to Tucker’s family, according to a news release.

The woman had worked as a full-time faculty member in the social work department at Park University in Missouri, where she lived.

“She was deeply loved by her nieces and nephews who called her Aunt TT,” her obituary stated. “She also had an overwhelming affection, appreciation and profound love of and for many aunts and uncles, cousins, great nephew and nieces.”