Eric McLean sentenced in love triangle murder

Eric McLean sentenced in love triangle murder

Eric McLean Eric McLean

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Eric McLean was given a four-year "split confinement" sentence Friday for the fatal shooting of his ex-wife's teen lover and former student

McLean's sentence is the maximum allowable under his reckless homicide conviction.

He was ordered to serve 47 days in jail, starting immediately. The remainder of the sentence will be served as part of his probation. 

The prosecutor asked for 12 years probation and Knox County Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth  Leibowitz agreed to that.

McLean, 33, could have been sentenced to between two to four years in prison.

He was found guilty on Sept. 11 of reckless homicide in the murder, after the jury found him not guilty of first or second degree murder, or voluntary manslaughter.

McLean admitted to police he shot Sean Powell, 18, in March 2007, but said it was an accident.

During the trial, defense attorney Bruce Poston argued Powell grabbed McLean's rifle pointed and the gun went off.

At Friday's sentencing, the victim's family members expressed disbelief with the justice system. 

"Every morning I wake up crying, knowing my son was taken so violently," said Sean Powell's adoptive mother, Scarlett Powell. "Our family has been torn apart. Our world does not make sense."

The family members told the judge they believed Powell's death was no accident, but a cold blooded murder by a jealous husband.

"Sean revealed to me that Erin McLean told him that Eric McLean and Erin was in an open marriage," said the victim's adoptive brother, Joey Jacks.

McLean did not break down in tears at the sentencing, as he did many times during his trial in September. But he did apologize to the victim's family.

"The death is going to haunt me forever," he said. "I just don't know what to say. I'm just sorry I'm just sorry."

Scarlett Powell said sorry is not enough, and Friday's sentence was like killing Sean all over again.

"This verdict says anyone can get away with murder, and get away with if you have the right ingredients, perfect timing and a good story line," she said.

Eric McLean will have no choice but to serve all 47 days in jail, but attorney Bruce Poston said they will appeal the 12 year probation sentence.

Earlier this week, the child custody battle between McLean and his ex-wife, Erin, continued in court.

In the custody fight over the divorced couple's two young sons, attorney Steve Sharp filed some motions on Nov. 4 that will be heard next week.

One of them is to keep Erin McLean from taking the stand and testifying on November 12 when the couple returns to court for the next hearing.

The motion is based claims that Erin allegedly was untruthful and refused to answer questions at the last hearing.

The motion asks for Erin to serve 20 days in jail until she answers the questions.

Another motion filed on behalf of Eric is for a protective order against Erin. It claims on a Nov. 4 visit with her kids Erin rented an R-rated movie for their kids.


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