A former Virginia Tech student will spend 45 years in prison for
killing her friend-turned-lover, who admitted she was only
"experimenting" with her sexuality after the two had an intimate
date night filled with wine and whipped cream.
Jessica Michelle Ewing pleaded guilty in February to killing 21-
year-old biology major Samanata Shrestha in 2014.
Ewing said she didn’t mean to kill her friend and lover, but
strangled her after the two had sex — and after Shrestha
explained that she was only “toying” with her sexuality.
“I loved Sam. I couldn’t believe she would say that I was some
experiment to her,” Ewing said in court Monday according to the
Roanoke Times. “It hit me where I was most hurt.”
Ewing was further upset that Shrestha showed up to the date,
which included a whipped cream fight inside Shrestha's
apartment, in a pair of sweatpants. Shrestha’s naked body was
found in the back seat of her car three days after the February
Ewing was sentenced Monday to 85 years in prison — 80 years for
the murder and five years for concealing a body. After the 24-
year-old serves 45 years, the rest of her prison term will be
suspended, Judge Robert Turk Ewing ruled.
"It wasn't my intent to kill," Ewing said at the Monday hearing.
In February, Ewing entered an Alford plea, which allows a
defendant to maintain innocence but acknowledges that the
prosecution has enough evidence for a conviction. The plea
halted the jury trial, which was set to begin days later.
Shrestha invited Ewing to her apartment Feb. 7, 2014, for dinner
and wine, prosecutors said. The two had classes together and
planned that night to cook dinner together and hang out.
Both Ewing and Shrestha's boyfriend said Shrestha was
"experimenting" and "toying" with her sexuality at the time.
Ewing said she spent hours getting ready for the dinner date,
and showed up wearing a dress, carrying a bottle of wine and a
canister of whipped cream. She was disappointed when her host
opened the door wearing sweatpants, she said in court.
The two tried to salvage the night despite Ewing's foul mood:
Shrestha changed into a dress, and the two had a whipped cream
fight to lighten the tension, Ewing said.
Then, they built a fort out of pillows and blankets and engaged
in sexual activities, Ewing claimed.
As the two lay in the fort, Ewing went into a fit of "intense
hatred," she said. She called Shrestha a “spoiled b---h” and
made other unsavory comments, she testified.
That’s when Shrestha explained that she was “only experimenting”
with her sexuality.
The argument turned physical, and Ewing put her friend into a
chokehold, she testified. Shrestha also suffered blunt-force
trauma to her head, arms and legs during the fight.
Police started searching for Shrestha the following Sunday after
her parents reported that they couldn’t get in touch with her
Cops found her body naked and covered in a sleeping back in the
backseat of her 2004 Mercedes Benz on Monday. She was lying next
to a teddy bear and a Virginia Tech scarf, the newspaper
reported earlier this year.
Police arrested Ewing on the same day, after she told her friend
from Bible study and then her parents about the killing,
Cops found Ewing’s diary and cellphone in her parents' Maryland
The day before the dinner party, Ewing texted another friend,
“tomorrow night is worrisome.
“I can’t stop this idea, it slowly creeped its way to consume my
black heart,” Ewing texted. “I want to … let someone else
decide, but ive (sic) already etched it in history.”
When the friend asked what Ewing meant, she wrote back, “just
After the killing, Ewing journaled about the attack, at one
point writing that she wanted to burn Shrestha’s body.
“What the hell is my future going to be? an eternity in prison?
Death penalty — off on insanity, mental what the f--k have you
done for that god d--n girl,” she wrote.
Police arrested two other people in connection to the killing.
Keifer Kyle Brown, a recent Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University graduate, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor
accessory in February for driving Shrestha’s car, knowing that
her body was in the backseat.
He was sentenced to a year in prison with all but 28 days
Michael Christian Heller, another Virginia Tech alumnus, was
charged with accessory after Brown gave him the keys to the car.
Those charges were later dropped.