Miranda Cheatham sentenced to 18 years in prison

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 4/14/19

During Miranda Cheatham's second-degree murder sentencing Friday, Bradley County Criminal Court Judge Andrew Mark Freiberg expressed bemusement when the victim's children did not voice more support …

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Miranda Cheatham sentenced to 18 years in prison

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During Miranda Cheatham's second-degree murder sentencing Friday, Bradley County Criminal Court Judge Andrew Mark Freiberg expressed bemusement when the victim's children did not voice more support of their late father during their victim impact statements.

The sentencing was for the 2016 shooting death of her husband, James "Tooter" Cheatham.

"No immediate family member has testified on his behalf," Freiberg said. "They are wholly supportive of the defendant. What does it mean when his own children won't testify for him?"

Miranda Cheatham was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison. She was convicted of her husband's death in January. James Cheatham was 45.

The Cheathams were married 25 years.

She was arrested and charged in June 2017 after a months-long investigation by the Cleveland Police Department in connection with the shooting that occurred at the couple’s 805 Sunset Ave. home, just after 6 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2016.

The shooting was first reported as a homicide, but it was later classified as “domestic-related” as detectives attempted to determine what led to the shooting.

Mr. Cheatham was transported to Tennova-Cleveland, where he later died from multiple gunshot wounds. He owned and operated James Cheatham Roofing, in Cleveland.

The Cheathams' children, Jade Montana Bivens, 26, and Jeris Cheatham, 18, both read statements before their mother's sentencing.

"She was always there for us," Bivens told the court. "She always put me and my brother first."

She ended her statement by saying, "She's my mother ...," before breaking down.

Jeris Cheatham said his father was a good father, but that "he was always working."

In addition, he commented that the private lives of families are not always reflective of the image seen by the outside world.

"Their marriage looked good from the outside," Jeris Cheatham said.

He also seemed baffled by his parents' troubles, stating "they kept things from me."

Ms. Cheatham sat in her chair emotionless as she listened to her children speak.

Although James Cheatham's mother, Connie Chambers, spoke on his behalf, the Cheatham children later said they had no relationship with their grandmother.

Chambers said her daughter-in-law had never been a good wife to her son and that she was only concerned with spending money and driving luxury Mercedes-Benz automobiles.

"I just want this to end," Chambers told Freiberg.  

During her emotional testimony, Chambers claimed she only had minutes to view her son's body before it was cremated.

The brother of the victim, John Cheatham, looked at his former sister-in-law and said, "I know where you are going, and it is to hell."

He was reprimanded by Freiberg for asking Ms. Cheatham a direct question, which is not allowed during such proceedings.

Noviena Cloer read a letter from her husband, Jeff Cloer, who was a close friend of James Cheatham. Cloer wrote that although the Cheatham's had been unfaithful to each other during their troubled marriage, James Cheatham had been a good provider, stating Miranda should have sought a divorce rather than murder her husband.

"He was not the only one who cheated," Cloer wrote. "He was having an affair, but then, so was she."

Cheatham also displayed no emotion as she was sentenced. After conferring with her attorney, she was escorted from the courtroom through a side door by armed guards. Before exiting, she paused to wave at her family and then disappeared as the door closed behind her.


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