TOPEKA, KAN. – A Topeka, Kan., man was sentenced today to 12 years in federal prison for the second degree murder of a woman he was traveling with on a cruise ship vacation, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
Eric Newman, 55, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to killing Tamara Tucker, who died Jan. 19, 2018, on board the Carnival Elation, a vessel registered in Panama. The Carnival Elation was on a voyage that took passengers from Jacksonville, Fla., to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and back.
“The man who killed Tamara Tucker was no stranger to her,” McAllister said. “He was her intimate partner for years, a person she loved and trusted. He was the one person she wanted to share this special voyage and to join her in celebrating her 50th birthday.”
In his plea, Newman said he and Tucker were traveling together and were assigned to cabin room G-29, located on the 14th deck of the cruise ship’s starboard side. The cabin had a balcony overlooking the ship’s 11th deck. During an argument in their room, Newman attacked Tucker.
“He had his hands around her neck when he pushed her over a balcony railing and she fell to her death on the 11th deck,” McAllister said.
McAllister was joined at a press conference today in Topeka by Ms. Tucker’s family, including her mother, Wanda Tucker-Schrantz, her sister, Dawn Tucker and her brother, Bo Tucker.
“As a professional social worker with a master’s degree, a teacher and an advocate, Ms. Tucker was no stranger to the complexities of human nature that can transform love into deadly violence,” McAllister said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the term “intimate partner violence,” which is defined as physical violence, sexual violence, stalking or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.
Nearly half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner, according to the CDC.
About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. About 41 percent of female IPV survivors and 14 percent of male IPV survivors experienced some form of physical injury.
Survivors of IPV can experience health problems including depression and PTSD. In addition, they are at a higher risk for smoking, binge drinking and risky sexual behaviors. For more information, see the CDC’s web page at https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html .
McAllister commended the FBI field offices in Jacksonville and Topeka, Trial Attorney Rami S. Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney of the District of Kansas for their work on the case.