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Florida woman pleads self-defense after shooting boyfriend

A Florida woman is on trial for killing her long-time boyfriend. In court, her attorney made the argument that she shot the man in self-defense, but the prosecutor insisted that the man was asleep at the time and did not pose an immediate threat to the defendant. However, the woman claims that she suffered years of physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her now-deceased boyfriend.

According to the defendant's testimony, she and her boyfriend had fought earlier in the day. He had pointed a loaded gun at her earlier that day and threatened to shoot her. At some point during the day, the man fell down the stairs and then went to lie down. While he was resting, the defendant admits that she shot him in the head. Medical reports showed that she then stabbed him multiple times and hit him in the head with a hammer. An expert psychologist testified that the violence she inflicted was consistent with a long-time victim acting out of fear that the abuser may return.

Court records indicate that witnesses testified on the behalf of the defendant that she was verbally and physically abused on more than one occasion. While she was found not guilty of murder in the first degree, the woman may face have manslaughter or second-degree murder charges at a later date.

An attorney can work with a client to ensure that outside factors are considered while building a defense strategy. Charges might be reduced or dropped if it can be shown that domestic abuse contributed to an individual panicking and acting without premeditation.

Source: WPTV, "Catherine Pileggi: Battered spouse defense challenged in Fort Lauderdale murder trial", Rafael Olmeda, November 08, 2014

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