NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – A woman who has spent nearly five years behind bars awaiting trial in the shooting death of her boyfriend has been released after prosecutors dismissed a murder charge.

The charge against 46-year-old Melissa Ziemba, of Meriden, was dismissed after the state medical examiner changed the manner of Richard West’s death in February 2012 from homicide to “undetermined.”

Ziemba pleaded guilty to intentional cruelty to persons this week and was sentenced to three years in prison, which she had already served while awaiting trial on the murder count. State prisons officials confirm she has been released.

Ziemba said the 49-year-old West shot himself after a drunken argument between the pair. The cruelty charge was because she did not immediately call 911.

Her lawyer said Ziemba was “thrilled” with the outcome.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 


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