A Grand Rapids woman has pleaded no contest to second-degree murder for a fatal stabbing last summer at an apartment building in the city’s Heartside district.

Kawonda Mendez, 36, entered the plea Tuesday, March 14 during an appearance before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber.

Under terms of a plea agreement, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office will recommend that Mendez serve a minimum term of between 10 and 15 years in prison. Second-degree murder is punishable by up to life.

The Aug. 1 stabbing followed a heated domestic argument in a third-floor unit of The Globe Apartments, 315 Commerce Avenue SW.

Grand Rapids police arrived about 3:27 a.m. and were directed to the apartment, where they found 40-year-old old Scott David Morton on the floor of the living room. He was being propped up in Mendez’s lap, according to a police report read in court.

He was stabbed beneath his sternum; a knife was found nearby. Rescuers provided first aid to Morton, but he was pronounced dead less than 20 minutes after police arrived.

Mendez will return to court for sentencing on April 13. She is being held in the Kent County Jail.

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