Defense to argue Missouri crowbar killing was justified

Burglar wearing a balaclava looking through the house window

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A defense attorney plans to argue that a Missouri woman was justified in killing her boyfriend with a crowbar.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that Chris Hatley told the paper his client, Jeanette Riddle, was physically, mentally and sexually abused in the decade leading up to the February 2017 death of Michael Butts. The 47-year-old Riddle is scheduled to go on trial in November on second-degree murder and armed criminal action charges.

Riddle told police she repeatedly hit Butts before cutting her wrists in an attempt to take her own life. Court documents say family members told investigators that the couple’s relationship was physically abusive.

Hatley says Butts kept Riddle in isolation for years. Missouri law allows defendants to argue self-defense if they suffered from battered spouse syndrome.
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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com