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Forsyth County woman sentenced to life without parole for 2016 stabbing
FCN Tonya Jane Tidwell Murder 1 111618
Forsyth County woman Tonya Jane Tidwell, right, listens to court proceedings during her murder trial on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. - photo by Ben Hendren

A Forsyth County woman has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by the Superior Court of Forsyth County for her part in the 2016 stabbing murder of a local north Forsyth man.

The sentence was handed down to convicted murderer 34-year-old Tonya Jane Tidwell on Friday afternoon by Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley.

On Tuesday, a jury returned an all-guilty verdict against Tidwell for charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated battery for stabbing David Eric Guice with a knife on Dec. 30, 2016, and striking him with an unknown object along with two other suspects — Ryan Spark, 30, of Hall County, and Jimmy Lee Winkles, 24.

Bagley issued a life sentence without parole to Tidwell for the charge of murder and issued a 20-year sentence for the charge of aggravated battery. These charges will be run concurrently.

Both Spark and Winkles pleaded guilty to murder charges before the trial and returned as witnesses for the state during the course of Tidwell’s trial.

After the sentencing, Tidwell’s attorney John Rife, expressed his disappointment in the sentencing but stated that he and his client respect the jury’s verdict.

"We respect the jury's verdict,” he said. “We had hoped that would look at it a different way but you can’t say you believe in the jury trial system and then question the jury's verdict.” 

Rife said that they have handed the case to an appellate council and an appeal is likely in the future.

According to Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn, sentencing for Tidwell’s co-defendants has not been set, and both face either a life sentence with the possibility of parole or a life sentence without parole.