AUTAUGA CO., AL (WSFA) - Judge Sibley Reynolds issued an order late Tuesday denying the defense's motions for acquittal and sentence reconsiderations in the case of Vegas Contorno, convicted of manslaughter for the Aug. 2015 fatal stabbing of her boyfriend, Remington Foradori.
Manslaughter was a lesser included charged offered to the jury to consider if they couldn't reach a verdict on murder in her case. The defense argued the conviction should be vacated because manslaughter cannot be offered as a lesser included offense for murder if the defense is self-defense.
Defense Attorney Jeff Duffy cited appellate cases in court that showed manslaughter is ruled out as a lesser-included charge of murder when self-defense is an element because self-defense indicates intent; manslaughter involves reckless behavior – ruling out a defense of self-defense.
The defense also asked the judge to reconsider Contorno's sentence by using Alabama's sentencing guidelines. Manslaughter, a class B felony, is not subject to the sentencing guidelines, and Reynolds handed down a maximum sentence of 20 years. If the sentencing standards were applied to the conviction, it could equate to a split sentence of approximately three years, according to court documents filed by the defense. This motion was also denied.
Contorno personally filed a motion to reduce her appeal bond, which is currently set at $400,000. That motion was denied. The state requested Contorno wear an ankle bracelet if she made bond. Reynolds noted in the order that he would take that request under advisement.
The state argued against all the requests in court Tuesday morning noting Contorno had been in two separate fights in the Autauga County Jail since her conviction. The defense has filed a notice of appeal, although no formal appeal brief has been filed in this case.
Contorno is now serving her sentence in Tutwiler Prison.