CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - A West Virginia woman convicted of fatally shooting her estranged husband in his hospital bed has won a new trial.
The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that Rhonda Kay Stewart be allowed to present a Battered Woman's Syndrome defense.
The 3-2 opinion concludes that the Kanawha Circuit jury should have heard that Stewart had been beaten and abused by Sammy Stewart throughout their 38-year marriage.
The 56-year-old was killed in CAMC Memorial Hospital's intensive-care unit while being treated for pancreatitis.
Rhonda Stewart was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2009. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
Monday's ruling instructs judges that a jury may consider evidence of abuse when determining such elements of a crime as premeditation, malice or intent.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.