Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Mount Holly woman was sentenced today to 15 years in New Jersey state prison for fatally shooting her wife during an argument inside their home in August 2017.
Laura Bluestein, 31, must serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The punishment was handed down in Superior Court in Mount Holly by the Hon. Terrence R. Cook, P.J.Cr.
After deliberating over three days in February, the jury found Bluestein guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter (First Degree) and Tampering with Evidence (Fourth Degree).
The State argued for a sentence of 30 years after the jury found that Bluestein, who was on probation at the time, pointed a 9mm handgun at the face of her wife, Felicia Dormans, and squeezed the trigger. Instead of calling 911 for assistance, the defendant spent the next few hours buying a shovel and tarp and attempting to dig a grave to cover up her crime.
“Today, after three years of legal maneuvering to evade responsibility for the senseless killing of the woman she claimed to be ‘the love of her life,’ Laura Bluestein must finally face the consequences of her malicious and evasive actions,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “Although today’s sentencing brings this case to a close, there sadly can be no closure for Felicia Dormans’ family, who face a life sentence of grieving for their lost daughter and sister. Our hearts are with Felicia’s family and friends as they continue to struggle with this incomprehensible loss. The shooting of Felicia by Bluestein reflects the ultimate act of domestic violence, one that we pray is not visited upon any other victims.”
The investigation began on August 6, 2017 when Mount Holly police went to the couple’s Mill Street residence after being notified by Bluestein’s father that an incident had occurred inside the home.
Upon arrival, police discovered the body of Felicia, 29, in a bedroom. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutors Jeremy Lackey and Lisa Commentucci. The investigation was conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Crime Scene Unit, along with the Mount Holly Police Department. The lead investigator was BCPO Detective Michael Reagan.
Prosecutor Coffina urged those in an abusive relationship to seek help and safety for themselves.
In Burlington County, help for victims of domestic abuse and their children is provided free of charge by Providence House. The organization emphasizes that services are offered regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
Providence House can be reached through a 24-hour hotline at 1-877-871-7551 or 609-871-7551, or online at https://www.catholiccharitiestrenton.org/domestic-violence-services/.