Judge to Wait Again Before Sentencing Ill Vista Woman

A Vista Superior Court judge agreed Thursday to wait another six months before deciding whether to impose a one-year jail sentence on Evanna Marie Cavanaugh, the ailing Vista housewife who pleaded guilty to the 1985 shooting death of her brother.

Judge Herbert Hoffman said he would wait until July 7 before deciding if Cavanaugh, who is suffering from cancer, should serve time behind bars.

In July, 1987, Hoffman sentenced the 49-year-old Sunday school teacher and one-time Vista crime commissioner to one year in jail, but stayed the sentence for six months because of Cavanaugh's failing health. He also ordered her to perform 400 hours of community service work.

Cavanaugh is suffering from breast and bone cancer. Medical experts say patients like Cavanaugh, with advanced stages of the disease, are generally given less than a year to live.

The mother of four pleaded guilty in April, 1987, to voluntary manslaughter for gunning down her 44-year-old brother, Charles Phegley, during an argument at their mother's Leucadia home. While prosecutors charged Cavanaugh with first-degree murder in the case, the woman's attorney argued that she shot Phegley in self-defense.

Since being sentenced six months ago, Cavanaugh has performed 283 hours of community service work, spending time as an office assistant for Vista schools, working with the local 4-H Club, the American Heart Assn. and doing volunteer work at the local library.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World