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Judge sentences Birmingham woman in gambling slaying

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — A Birmingham woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for gunning down a Mississippi woman on a city street during a gambling dispute.

At sentencing Friday, Tangy James apologized to her victim’s relatives for the Aug. 19, 2005, death of Zanaib Badmus-Agoro of Jackson, Miss.

James, 25, faced a death sentence or life without parole when she was tried in March on a charge of capital murder during a robbery.

But jurors convicted her of the lesser charge of intentional murder, rejecting the robbery claim.

During sentencing by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Teresa Pulliam, James said she snapped after losing money in a gambling game at the restaurant where she worked.

“I did something stupid,” she said. “I never intended it. Sometimes we act out of anger. If I could take it back I would, I swear to God.”

But The Birmingham News in a story Saturday reported that the victim’s sisters and mother, Erta Richards, were not in a forgiving mood. Richards recounted how her daughter was hunted down and shot in the back as she ran into a busy street out of fear.

“Maybe one day I can get it in my heart to forgive, but this isn’t it,” said Richards, who arrived from Jackson, Miss., for the trial and sentencing.

$172

She said her daughter was killed over $172.

Badmus-Agoro helped her boyfriend in a game he was running where people would try to double their money by picking out a ball hidden under one of three cups.

James testified that the boyfriend took her money and gave it to Badmus-Agoro before the two left.

James said she chased down the victim, then got out of her car and fired three times to scare Badmus-Agoro into reforming.

James testified that she did not rob the victim. But in a post-trial interview with a probation officer, James admitted taking the money she had lost from Badmus-Agoro.

“That shows Tangy James committed perjury,” prosecutor Mike Anderton said at Friday’s sentencing. “She literally lied to get out of a capital murder charge.”

Defense attorney John Robbins called the allegation “out of line.”

After the hearing, Richards said she still believed it was a capital murder and was dissatisfied with the 20-year sentence.

“That’s the minimum,” said the mother, who has a tattoo memorializing her daughter. “This crime doesn’t call for the minimum. Maybe one shot, that would have been a minimum. But three shots?

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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