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Phoenix woman pleads not guilty to manslaughter in boyfriend's death

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Ashley Eide (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Ashley Eide (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix woman, who said she feared for her life when she shot her live-in boyfriend, has pleaded not guilty in his death.

Ashley Eide, 24, claims the Feb. 1 fight started because her boyfriend became jealous of an Instagram posting.

Court officials said Eide made her plea on a charge of felony manslaughter at her arraignment Wednesday morning.

She's accused in the shooting death of 26-year-old Fernando Ruelas on the stairwell of an apartment complex near 70th Avenue and Indian School Road early during the early morning hours.

Eide told police Ruelas had choked and hit her and held a gun to her head over the past month.

The investigating officer said Eide had visible injuries to her face when police arrived Saturday.

Neighbors told police they heard the couple arguing about 4 a.m. after they returned from a night of drinking. They also said they heard someone hitting a wall, a person run down the stairs and then a gunshot.

One witness told police a hysterical woman beat on her door and when she opened it, she saw Ruelas lying on the stairwell.

Fearing for her safety, the witness slammed the door shut and called 911, according to the report.

The woman's 5-year-old son was in the apartment during the confrontation and shooting, but was not hurt, according to the report. He told police he saw the couple fighting and that his mother grabbed a gun and shot the victim.

Eide told police the arguing started after they picked up the child and started home. She said Ruelas became jealous of an Instagram posting when they arrived at the complex, he pushed her down the stairwell while she was carrying her son, according to the report.

Eide said she hurt her knees and elbows in the fall and after she put her son to bed, the couple continued to argue and Ruelas hit her face repeatedly with a door knob, according to the report.

She said Ruelas left the apartment to retrieve a DVD Eide said she threw out of the apartment and while he was gone, she grabbed a .22-caliber handgun from a closet and stood at the top of the stairwell.

Ruelas returned and when he was on the stairwell, she said he started to turn toward her. She said became afraid and unintentionally shot Ruelas in the back of the neck.

She told the officer she didn't report the abuse because Ruelas was on supervised probation and she didn't want him to go back to prison.

The officer said the handgun and a spent shell casing were recovered.

Her next court date is scheduled for April 9.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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