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New Jersey defendant claims shooting her husband was self-defense

She carried a gun around with her most of the time. That is what the 47-year-old defendant at the center of a New Jersey murder trial admitted while taking the stand in her defense.

It's not that she admits to planning to hurt her husband; rather, she is disabled and was often alone with her kids. She feared that she would need the gun to defend herself from an intruder someday. That gun wasn't used against an intruder, however. She confesses to firing that gun at her husband in May 2010. He died as a result of the shot, leaving behind three children and his widow blamed for his death.

The defendant, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and depends on a wheelchair, is in the midst of the criminal trial for murder. She claims that self-defense justified her actions after her husband threatened to kill her. In her testimony, the defendant suggested that her husband was upset and wanted to hurt her because of divorce and financial matters. He came at her and she fired.

The incident occurred in the couple's New Jersey home, resulting in little testimony to either support or weaken the defendant's story. A point that prosecutors might highlight during the trial is that the defendant's husband was purportedly seeing another woman at the time of his death, though the defendant claims that she knew nothing about that until after her husband died.

Divorce, money and infidelity are common issues that lead to situations of violence within the home. What the court needs to determine in this case is whether the defendant's act of violence was a reasonable response to a perceived threat or a premeditated act.

When there is a development in this case, we will post an update.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Butler woman accused of fatally shooting husband says he was going to kill her," Ben Horowitz, Jan. 24, 2013

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