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Sentencing date postponed to July in Carnival cruise ship murder

© Facebook Eric Newman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Tamara Tucker

PortandTerminal.com, June 11, 2020

TOPEKA, KS — A Kansas man convicted in December in 2018 killing of his long-time girlfriend aboard the Carnival Elation had a court history of four counts of domestic violence, according to U.S. District Court records examined Wednesday.

Eric Duane Newman pleaded guilty last December to killing his longtime girlfriend by pushing her off the Carnival cruise ship’s balcony.

Newman, 55, of Topeka, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with malice aforethought in the January 2018 death of Tamara Loraine Tucker. He faces a 12-year prison term followed by five years of probation.

Carnival Cruise Ship The Elation at sea
FILE PHOTO: Tamara Loraine Tucker was pushed off her balcony by her partner while onboard the Carnival Elation

The killing occurred during a Carnival cruise celebrating Tucker’s 50th birthday. On Jan. 18, the couple checked into their shared cabin on the vessel’s 13th deck after boarding the ship in Jacksonville, Florida. The following day, Tucker was dead.

On the first day, the two had been drinking at different places aboard the ship, then Tucker returned to the cabin, and Newman soon followed.

One memorandum, obtained by Jacksonville’s News Channel 4, claims the couple was served a total of 21 drinks over a four-hour period.

The couple got in an argument inside their cabin, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

At about 12:15 a.m., “Newman physically attacked Tucker, and strangled her by placing both of his hands around her neck,” said the statement. In the process, he pushed his girlfriend over the balcony railing, causing Tucker to fall to her death two stories below on the ship’s 11th deck while the boat sailed about 30 miles east of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma as a result of the fall.

Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement the day after Tucker’s death that “the ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away.”

The prosecutor noted Tucker was a 50-year-old social worker from Missouri, and Newman and Tucker were in a long-term relationship. Tucker’s family had purchased a round-trip cruise for Tucker and Newman from Jacksonville, Fla., to the Bahamas to celebrate Tucker’s 50th birthday, Kenney wrote.

In the memorandum, defense lawyers said that what happened was “in all likelihood an unintentional killing” as a result of heavy intoxication.

In a court document, Kenney noted Newman’s acceptance of responsibility which resulted in a reduction of his sentence.

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