Nancy Seaman, 66, has spent thirteen years in the Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Michigan for killing her husband Bob with a hatchet in the couple’s garage.
Former Oakland County Circuit Judge Jack McDonald, who sentenced her, is now one of her staunchest, and most unlikely advocates. He said that, beneath the surface of Seaman’s marriage, the dark truth was hidden: her husband had abused her physically and emotionally for years.
“I’ve probably had 20 murder cases at least,” said McDonald, now retired. “I [had] no pangs of conscience at all. This was the case that bothered me.”
Now, McDonald has joined advocates in pushing Gov. Rick Snyder to commute Seaman’s sentence. Some have argued in the cases of battered women convicted of murdering their partners. This is the argument in Seaman’s case. Advocates think that she had received a harsher sentence than she deserved.
“I don’t think she should have been convicted of first-degree murder,” McDonald said. “I don’t think I can live with myself if I just wash my hands and say, ‘Oh, too bad. That’s the way it goes.'”
Eight months after jurors found Seaman guilty of first-degree murder, a charge with carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole, McDonald reduced Seaman’s conviction to second-degree murder, making her eligible for parole after ten years served.
NBC News has the full story here.