PALMDALE –A 21-year-old woman accused of stabbing a man to death in February turned herself in to authorities Wednesday evening.
Neffertashia Ann Burroughs hugged several family members, huddled in prayer, and then collapsed several times before making her way into the Palmdale Station around 6:30 p.m.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Burroughs choked out between sobs.
Burroughs was wanted on a warrant in connection with the stabbing death of 25-year-old Mantwell James. Shortly after midnight on Feb. 29, deputies reportedly found James wounded and bleeding after being called to the 44200 block of Cedar Avenue in Lancaster. James died at the hospital.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster Station placed Burroughs on a “Most Wanted” list, which was circulated to the media, and appealed to the public for information leading to her capture. Burroughs’ relatives contacted local civic group, The Community Action League, and the organization assisted Burroughs in turning herself in to the Palmdale Station.
Speaking by telephone while en route to the Palmdale Station, Burroughs told her side of the story to The AV Times.
“I want the public to know that I am very sorry for what happened,” Burroughs said. “My family and his family loved him [James] dearly, and I loved him too… I also want the public to know that he was not my boyfriend, he was like my brother, my best friend and also my kids’ Godfather.”
Burroughs said there was no romantic relationship between her and Mantwell James, but she said James did stay over by her Cedar Avenue residence from time to time to help out with her three children.
“My kids were his God children so he’d help out with the kids sometimes, and I helped him out by letting him spend the night,” she said. “He’d come, eat, and shower and leave and things like that.”
She said James gradually began to read more into the relationship and began acting jealous when she had male company. She said about a month before the stabbing, James “started getting obsessed” and “doing crazy things.”
“Stalking me at stores, it was all types of stuff… hiding behind doors when I’d come home,” Burroughs said. “Sometimes I even feared to go home and I was staying at motels.”
Burroughs said James had threatened to break her neck once, but he had never hit her before the night of the incident.
She said on the eve of the stabbing, the two had a physical altercation and James overpowered her.
“He started yelling at me first and arguing with me about seeing people and having people over to my house, and then he slapped me… ” Burroughs said. “I was like ‘please just leave my house,’ and he pushed me, and I fell and I got up, and I asked him to not put his hands on me again, and he started hitting me and choking me.”
Asked specifically about the stabbing, Burroughs said: “I don’t remember how all that occurred, I just could remember the last thing was him choking me… I was scared for my life, I was in fear of my life, me and my kids, and I was also pregnant at the time …”
Burroughs said others were at her home during the altercation, including one of her three children who was sleeping in the bedroom and did not witness the fight.
“I left because I feared for my life and my baby’s life,” Burroughs said. “I really didn’t know at the time what had happened… I didn’t know he passed or he was gonna die.”
Burroughs said she did not return home because she feared for her life. She said after seeing herself in the media, she wanted to turn herself in, but was afraid and confused. Burroughs said she did not dye her hair or alter her appearance to avoid capture, and she said her three children, ages 4, 3, and eight months, were not in her care during the time she was wanted by authorities.
“I was not trying to run or any of this, I just needed time to get myself together to be able to face this,” she said. “It wasn’t purposely done… I loved him so much and if I could do anything in the world to bring it back and change what happened, I would.”
Burroughs said she contacted her Godmother for help in turning herself in. Burroughs’ Godmother contacted Abdul Majeed Askia, who put her in contact with The Community Action League (TCAL), said TCAL member Pharaoh Mitchell.
“She called me and we talked for a while and she felt that she could trust me,” said Mitchell. “I connected her and Lt. [Paul] Clay by three-way on the phone.”
“I encouraged her and reaffirmed that she had made the right decision to turn herself in,” Lt. Clay said.
Members of TCAL picked Burroughs up from a residence in Paramount and transported Burroughs to the Palmdale Station. Burroughs met up with family members and said goodbye outside of the station before going inside to surrender to waiting deputies.
“We knew it was going to be an emotional thing, so we tried to make it as easy for her as possible,” said Palmdale Station Captain Bobby Denham, who was down in the lobby when Burroughs surrendered.
“I am proud of the way they [deputies] handled themselves in taking care of this young lady with dignity,” said Mitchell.
Burroughs was booked at the Palmdale Station at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday on suspicion of murder, with bail set at $1,020,000.00, according to LASD Inmate Records.