Kansas City, Kansas - A Kansas man was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison for murdering his longtime girlfriend during a cruise from Florida to the Bahamas in January 2018.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. McAllister of the District of Kansas and Special Agent in Charge Rachel L. Rojas of the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office made the announcement.

Eric Duane Newman, 55, of Topeka, Kansas, pleaded guilty on December 19, 2019, before Chief U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson of the District of Kansas to one count of murder in the second degree for killing Tamara Tucker with malice aforethought.

Chief Judge Robinson also sentenced Newman to five years of post-release supervision and ordered him to pay $8,496.00 restitution to Tucker’s family.

According to the admissions made in connection with the plea, Newman and Tucker boarded the Carnival Elation cruise ship on January 18, 2018, in Jacksonville, Florida, to take a round-trip voyage to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.  Newman and Tucker were staying together in a cabin room on the 13th deck of the cruise ship.

Before midnight on January 18, Newman became involved in a verbal argument with Tucker inside their cabin room.  At approximately 12:15 a.m. on January 19, Newman physically attacked Tucker, and strangled her by placing both of his hands around her neck.  In the process of strangling her, Newman pushed Tucker over the cabin room balcony railing causing her to fall to her death onto the 11th deck.  Tucker died from blunt force trauma as a result of the fall.  At the time, the cruise ship was sailing on the high seas in international water, approximately 30 nautical miles from New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Jacksonville Field Office with the assistance of the FBI’s Topeka Field Office.  Trial Attorney Rami S. Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine E. Kenney of the District of Kansas prosecuted the case.  Assistance was also provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Office of the Attorney General.