NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) - A northern Kentucky jury found a Fort Thomas woman guilty Monday of first-degree manslaughter in the June 2007 death of her husband.
After nine days of testimony, the Campbell County Circuit Court
jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours before delivering its verdict
Cheryl McCafferty had been charged with murder in the death of
Robert McCafferty, 44. The first-degree manslaughter conviction
carries a penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison, compared with 20
years to life for murder.
McCafferty held hands with her lead defense attorney, Deanna
Dennison, when the jury returned to the courtroom to read the
verdict, The Kentucky Enquirer reported. About 20 people were
present, but there was little reaction, the newspaper said.
Jurors were to return to court Tuesday to deliberate a
McCafferty claimed she shot her husband in self-defense.
But Commonwealth's Attorney Michelle Snodgrass climbed on the
couple's king-size bed, which was brought to the courtroom, and
told jurors that McCafferty's account didn't match forensic
evidence, including blood still on the headboard and mattress, the
"How can it be anything other than an execution?" Snodgrass
asked during closing arguments.
Defense lawyer Frank Mungo told jurors the crime scene had been
contaminated and conclusions drawn by forensic scientists therefore
"You folks are her last hope for someone to listen," he said.
Mungo said investigators didn't listen to his client or
investigate the 44-year-old's claims of self-defense, and she was
charged 50 minutes after calling 911 to report her husband was
trying to kill her.
Snodgrass called witnesses to show McCafferty was stealing from
her husband. Several investigators testified that she was taking
checks from the back of her husband's checkbook, making them out to
herself and cashing them.
Mungo said the prosecution was grasping for a motive to justify
the quick arrest of an innocent person. He attacked the integrity
of the crime scene investigation. After the first six photographs,
the scene was disturbed by medics called to pronounce McCafferty
dead, and Mungo said that contaminated blood and gunshot residue.
McCafferty testified during the trial that her husband told her
hours before the shooting that she should kill herself or he would
kill the couple's children and she would wish she were dead.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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