TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A Tahlequah man received five years in a Department of Corrections facility after pleading guilty Dec. 4 to failure to render aid or seek medical assistance for his wife, who later died.
Prosecutors filed second-degree manslaughter and domestic assault and battery charges against Lawrence Joseph Shefchik, 43, on Aug. 29 in Cherokee County District Court.
According to reports, Cherokee County sheriff's deputies responded July 13 to a 911 call from Shefchik, who told dispatchers he believed his wife, Tracy, was dead. He allegedly told authorities the couple had a physical altercation on July 12, when he head-butted her and then passed out.
When he awoke the next morning, he said, his wife was alive but had trouble breathing. The defendant said he tried to perform CPR on his wife, but then he passed out again. When he awoke again, Shefchik said, he was lying on top of his wife's body.
During another interview with authorities, Shefchik purportedly admitted he knew his wife was dying. He reportedly called 911 from a neighbor's house around 6 p.m. on July 13.
According to agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which assisted with the probe, the body was nude in the bedroom with a T-shirt and shorts lying on top of her.
Authorities found small bruises on her shoulders, chest and abdomen area, as well as above her right eye and lower right jaw. Her legs were covered with several small bruises and cuts. The victim had froth coming from her nose, and blood was on the wall, her legs, and on a shirt behind her back, holding her arms together.
Shefchik told authorities that when he was pulling on her, her shirt came over her head, and that's why it was behind her back.
Deputies also reported the body appeared to be wet and seemed to have been cleaned. They found several cleaning chemicals near the body. Shefchik allegedly claimed he sprayed the victim with shower cleaner and Clorox to keep bugs off her.
Shefchik also allegedly admitted to putting a 10th of a gram of methamphetamine in a cup of milk and pouring it down the victim's throat in an effort to "revive" her.
The defendant received four years in the DOC for the second-degree manslaughter charge and one year for domestic assault and battery. Both counts are to run concurrently, and the defendant was given credit for time served.