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Battered Spouse Syndrome

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NEWS
January 30, 1991
The trial of a North Laurel woman charged in the murder of her common-law husband has been postponed until May 29 to determine whether expert testimony on battered spouse syndrome will be allowed as evidence.Beverly Seward had been scheduled to stand trial today for the fatal shooting of Archie White on July 29. Seward claims White beat her over a 10-year period and that she shot him in self-defense.At a hearing yesterday, Circuit Court Judge Raymond J. Kane foundthat "good cause" exists to postpone the case.
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NEWS
By Sarah Schaffer and Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF | November 10, 2004
A Laurel woman jailed since April without bond in the shooting death of her abusive husband was convicted yesterday of manslaughter and will serve no more time behind bars. Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner sentenced Laura Ann Rogers, 36, to 10 years in prison - the maximum penalty - but reduced her sentence to time served plus five years' supervised probation. Hackner also ordered psychological counseling for Rogers and her three children. After sentencing, Hackner told Rogers that he believed "horrible" mitigating circumstances - and her defense attorney's claim that she suffered from battered spouse syndrome - were enough to warrant releasing the woman.
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NEWS
January 27, 1991
PRO:Battered women who kill their abusers should be allowed to tell the whole story in court.That's the bottom line for their sympathizers.But if a pattern of physical abuse can be considered a defense for homicide, will other women be encouraged to kill?Absolutely not, say those who support changes in state law to allow such testimony.Battered spousesyndrome is a state of mind that judges and jurors must consider, they insist. When women take the desperate step of killing their abusers, they generally do so in a lull between episodes.
NEWS
March 14, 2004
An Anne Arundel County jury will begin deliberating tomorrow whether Terry Harriet Pierce Eslin was temporarily insane when she killed her husband last January or is guilty of murder or manslaughter. "Was she cleaning up or covering up?" Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler asked jurors Friday in closing arguments. He described a pristine crime scene that included the body of Richard P. Eslin, shot in the head and bludgeoned, rolled in bedsheets and wrapped in a blue tarpaulin secured with bungee cords.
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,Staff writer | April 17, 1991
Legislation allowing evidence of "battered spouse syndrome" to be used in Maryland courts won't become law until July, but both sides in a murder trial that began yesterday in county Circuit Court agreed toact as if it were already on the books.To do otherwise would have accomplished nothing more than delaying the trial until after the law went into effect, said the prosecutor and the defense attorney.The defendant, Patricia Mae Terrell, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her live-in boyfriend, Robert Ford Jr.Terrell -- who told police after she was arrested that she had been physically abused by her first husband and, later, by Ford -- says she acted in self-defense when she stabbed and then fatally shot Ford during an argument last June 7 in their home in the 100 block of DefenseHighway, near Annapolis.
NEWS
By Jackie Powder and Jackie Powder,Staff writer | September 22, 1991
Beverly Seward escaped from an abusive father, kicked a heroin habitand pursued a successful career in the medical field, according to testimony last week at her sentencing hearing.She's a survivor, not a victim of battered spouse syndrome, as she has claimed, accordingto a psychologist testifying for the prosecution last week at Seward's hearing.Dr. Lawrence J. Raifman said Seward has fashioned a story portraying herself as a battered spouse to explain why she fatally shot Archie White, her companion of 12 years.
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,Staff writer | June 13, 1991
An Annapolis woman who was the first to use "the battered spouse syndrome" defense in a Maryland trial was sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison.Patricia Mae Terrell, 37, who was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of her boyfriend, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 10 years for manslaughter, but county Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner suspended three years ofthe sentence.Lerner also sentenced Terrell to seven years for a handgun violation, but ordered that penalty to be served concurrently with the manslaughter sentence.
NEWS
By David Simon and William F. Zorzi Jr | March 17, 1991
The problem is real.Take the case of Juanita Stinson, one of the eight women whose sentences were commuted last month by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.She endured years of vicious beatings and psychological abuse before shooting her husband 3 1/2 years ago. The 58-year-old woman dismembered Charles Stinson's body and then pretended for a year that he had simply disappeared.Dismemberment, she said, was the only practical way for a slight woman to remove the body from her home. She refused to involve her sons to help.
NEWS
By Erik Nelson and Erik Nelson,Staff writer | April 3, 1991
A circuit court judge heard arguments Tuesday on whether prosecutorscan compel a North Laurel murder defendant to undergo psychiatric testing, which they hope will refute the woman's battered-spouse syndrome defense.Beverly Seward, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Archie White last July 29 at the couple's town house in North Laurel.In a Howard County Sun article Jan. 27, Seward said she shot White in self-defense after he beat her frequently over 10 years.
NEWS
By John W. Frece and John W. Frece,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun | March 14, 1991
ANNAPOLIS -- Women who kill or attempt to kill their abusive spouses or mates would be permitted to introduce evidence that they were suffering from "battered spouse syndrome" under legislation overwhelmingly approved by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday.The bill, which now goes to the full House of Delegates, would not specifically stipulate that evidence of "battered spouse syndrome" could be used as a legal defense in place of the traditional claim of self-defense, but would allow it to indicate a "motive or state of mind" of the accused assailant.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF | March 12, 2004
A Shady Side woman who maintains she was temporarily insane when she killed her husband wept on the witness stand yesterday as she told an Anne Arundel County jury she recalls little about the bloody attack. "You can't imagine how I feel to this day that I took a human life. I just cannot believe that man is not here anymore," said a sobbing Terry Harriet Pierce Eslin, 59, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Richard P. Eslin, 66, who was her third husband. She said she wanted to hurt her husband, who she said was abusive and ordered her to leave because he discovered her five-figure credit card debt, but at the same time, "I wanted to grow old with him."
NEWS
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF | April 5, 2002
A Pasadena woman who fatally shot her estranged husband on Christmas Day 2000 told a packed courtroom yesterday that the cycle of violence she endured throughout the 11-year marriage left her depressed and ultimately suicidal. Kelly Ann Clutter, 35, testified in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that David Clutter's occasionally controlling ways during their two-year courtship turned into "constant" abuse after they married. "He yelled at me every day. He would always find a reason to yell at me," she said.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | April 13, 1995
A Columbia woman used the battered-spouse syndrome yesterday to win a suspended prison term for the stabbing death of her live-in boyfriend last October.Tatyana Kogan told a Howard Circuit judge that she could no longer tolerate the beatings from 31-year-old Andrei Gordon when he attacked her in a dispute over a piece of pie."I told him to stop," said the soft-spoken native of Belarus in the former Soviet Union. "He hit me. He told me it was time to die. I believed him because he said it so many times."
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,Staff writer | January 5, 1992
Husband-killer Jane Marie Ostovitz fidgeted and shook while her lawyer described a marriage marred by alcohol, drugs, jealousy and years of psychological abuse.Her husband threw her out of the house 25 to 30 times, usually tossing her clothes on the front lawn, attorney George Lantzas said at a hearing Friday in county Circuit Court. He cut her off from her friends and family. He'd command her to cook dinner or to run out at all hours for food, then throw it on the floor.Lantzas said the 26-year-old Pasadena woman, who is 8 1/2 months pregnant with her dead husband's child, suffered from "battered-spouse syndrome" when she fatally shot Kenneth Edwin Ostovitz in the head last May 19. He asked a judge to sentence Ostovitz, who had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a sentence not to exceed 13 years, to a "lengthy" period of house arrest.
NEWS
By Jackie Powder and Jackie Powder,Staff writer | September 22, 1991
Beverly Seward escaped from an abusive father, kicked a heroin habitand pursued a successful career in the medical field, according to testimony last week at her sentencing hearing.She's a survivor, not a victim of battered spouse syndrome, as she has claimed, accordingto a psychologist testifying for the prosecution last week at Seward's hearing.Dr. Lawrence J. Raifman said Seward has fashioned a story portraying herself as a battered spouse to explain why she fatally shot Archie White, her companion of 12 years.
NEWS
By David Simon | August 30, 1991
Gov. William Donald Schaefer has reduced the sentence of another woman who contends that she murdered a man because of battered-spouse syndrome -- the 11th such case in which the governor has granted clemency.Marie Lake, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1982 death of her boyfriend, is now eligible for immediate parole as a result of the governor's decision. At a hearing this month, she was told she will be released from prison next February."I couldn't be happier," said Ms. Lake, the only one of 12 commutation candidates considered by the governor in February still await state action.
NEWS
March 14, 2004
An Anne Arundel County jury will begin deliberating tomorrow whether Terry Harriet Pierce Eslin was temporarily insane when she killed her husband last January or is guilty of murder or manslaughter. "Was she cleaning up or covering up?" Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler asked jurors Friday in closing arguments. He described a pristine crime scene that included the body of Richard P. Eslin, shot in the head and bludgeoned, rolled in bedsheets and wrapped in a blue tarpaulin secured with bungee cords.
NEWS
By Sarah Schaffer and Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF | November 10, 2004
A Laurel woman jailed since April without bond in the shooting death of her abusive husband was convicted yesterday of manslaughter and will serve no more time behind bars. Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner sentenced Laura Ann Rogers, 36, to 10 years in prison - the maximum penalty - but reduced her sentence to time served plus five years' supervised probation. Hackner also ordered psychological counseling for Rogers and her three children. After sentencing, Hackner told Rogers that he believed "horrible" mitigating circumstances - and her defense attorney's claim that she suffered from battered spouse syndrome - were enough to warrant releasing the woman.
NEWS
By Brian Sullam John Rivera of The Sun's metropolitan staff contributed to this article | August 6, 1991
A Baltimore woman standing trial on charges of first-degree attempted murder in the shooting and wounding of her boyfriend was found guilty of lesser charges yesterday after testimony that she was abused by him.Victoria Everette, 33, a resident of the Reservoir Hill area south of Druid Hill Park, was found guilty of assault and a handgun violation by a Baltimore City Circuit Court jury after 9 1/2 hours of deliberation over two days.The jury of 10 women and two men was considering a relatively new defense in such cases: that she was suffering from battered women's syndrome.
NEWS
By David Simon 1/8 1/8 | July 23, 1991
Five months after eight of her fellow inmates were freed as alleged victims of abuse by mates that they assaulted or killed, Gale Annette Hawkins -- who was among the first to argue for recognition of battered-spouse syndrome in Maryland -- was herself released from prison yesterday.The 34-year-old Hawkins, who was sentenced to life in prison for the June 1979 stabbing death of her boyfriend, was granted parole and escorted by a prison lieutenant from the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup about 8 a.m.She spent her first day of freedom bringing flowers and a balloon to a younger sister who is pregnant with triplets at University Medical Center and then acclimating herself to a Baltimore halfway house, where she will reside for a time as part of her parole.
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