• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The deep end

This is one of those stories I read and wonder what the jury heard that we aren't being told about, because I keep saying "that can't be right" after every paragraph. A woman shot her husband in the head while he slept. She claimed she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the physical and emotional abuse by her husband against her and her children. But she offered no police or medical records to support those claims -- it was just her saying it. And the jury bought it -- finding her not gulity by reason of insanity. And it gets even better:

 A judge has freed a woman from custody after a jury found her not not responsible by reason of insanity in the fatal shooting her abusive husband.

Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. ruled that Jerri Finnearty, 43, was not a danger to the community or gravely disabled.

"She's already served her prison sentence," Stefaniak said.

The judge denied a motion by deputy prosecutor Mary Ryan to have Finnearty taken into custody so doctors could evaluate whether she was a danger to society.

To place Jerri Finnearty in custody would be nothing more than to punish her, which the jury said we should not do," Stefaniak said.

Heaven forbid someone should be punished for killing someone while he slept. Even if ample evidence of the abuse had been offered, the use of PTSD as a defense should be the subject of a spirited legal and moral debate. But it seems no such evidence was offered, so it's hard to see this as anything but a jury and judge going off the deep end. But, as I said, maybe there's a lot more here than what the story explains.


Bob G.
Fri, 10/17/2008 - 10:11am

...Puts a whole new slant on the phrase "You snooze...you lose", doesn't it?