San Diego Love Triangle Likely Sentence: Jennifer Trayers Case

(Update 3/9/2012 9:55 am: As expected, Jennifer Trayers was sentenced to 16 years, the minimum. The judge commented that the case “exemplified the irrevocable tragedy of domestic violence.”)

Today, Navy wife Jennifer Trayers will be sentenced in a San Diego courtroom for the killing of her navy doctor husband. The jury found her guilty of second degree murder. The prosecution argued it was a premeditated first-degree murder, and the defense argued for manslaughter, a heat of passion (jealous rage) killing after she learned of his affair.

Likely sentence? My guess, although she faces 16 to life, she will likely be sentenced to a lower term possibly the lowest of 16 years.

Why?

No prior criminal history, an affair, and her remorse tend to mitigate a longer sentence. And, she did testify unlike most defendants in this circumstance. Yet, the delay in reporting, the email letter to his mistress and the jury’s verdict of murder may call for a longer sentence.

Her sentence is now at the judge’s discretion.

Simply my opinion, what say you?


San Diego Love Triangle Verdict Watch: Jennifer Trayers Case

(UPDATE 2/8/2012 Verdict: Jennifer Trayers convicted of second degree murder (just like Betty Broderick) faces 16 years to life in prison. Jury deliberated 4 days.)

It’s Day 3 of jury deliberation in the Jennifer Trayers trial in San Diego. Is today the day the jury decides? Or, maybe, it’s early for a verdict? Or, maybe, the jury is stuck on a verdict?

This is no easy case for any jury. And, deciding between murder and manslaughter is no easy task for any jury especially when a wife is accused of stabbing her Navy doctor husband to death after learning of an affair.

Typically, the decision turns on whether the jury finds the defendant acted with “malice forethought.” Did she have the “intent to kill” her husband? Was the killing a “planned attack” according to the prosecution to justify a verdict of murder? Or, was it a “heat of passion” jealous rage-induced killing after learning of an affair to justify a verdict of manslaughter?

The defendant faces life in prison if convicted of murder and up to 11 years if convicted of manslaughter.

Or, will the jury find her not guilty (acquittal) or will the jury be divided (hung jury)?

It’s up to the jury to decide what happened based on the testimony and evidence presented. Yet, to convict on any charge, all 12 will have to vote guilty. Anything less is a hung jury and a retrial is possible. Remember Betty Broderick, another San Diego case, the jury was hung in the first trial before she was convicted of murder in the second trial for the shooting death of her husband and his new wife while they slept.

And even today, another jury will be impaneled to face the same decision, murder or manslaughter in the killing of University of Virginia Lacrosse student Yeardley Love by her ex-boyfriend, Lacrosse player George Huguely after he allegedly broke into her apartment during a drunken rage and repeatedly banged her head against the wall resulting in her death.

Another terrible tragedy.

Simply my opinion, what say you?


San Diego Love Triangle Verdict Murder or Manslaughter: Jennifer Trayers Case

(UPDATE 2/8/2012 Verdict: Jennifer Trayers convicted of second degree murder (just like Betty Broderick) faces 16 years to life in prison. Jury deliberated 4 days.)

In San Diego, a Navy doctor’s wife of 19 years, Jennifer Trayers, is accused of stabbing her Navy doctor husband to death. After weeks of testimony, the jury is out deliberating. Was the killing murder or manslaughter? Planned attack or rage killing after learning of an affair? The evidence seems to point to murder rather than manslaughter.

Tough case for manslaughter. Husband was stabbed while sleeping after taking sleeping medication. Evidence of  lying in wait? 8 stab wounds in the back and 2 in the chest. No self-defense? Wife learned of affair several months earlier before the stabbing occurred which may defeat any claim of rage-induced manslaughter at time of stabbing. Husband had previous affairs according to the defendant.

However, maybe, not murder. The medical expert testified 6 stab wounds occurred after his death suggests she possibly “lost it” and was acting in uncontrollable rage. Or, maybe, the jury will find other reasons to support a manslaughter verdict. The defendant did testify she had no intent to kill her husband and that may sway one or more jurors.

Clearly, there is evidence of the defendant’s controlling and manipulative behavior. Months prior, the defendant installed spyware to intercept emails between her husband and his mistress, and, discovered they were planning on getting married and having children. The defendant testified repeatedly that she felt ignored by her husband and claims she meant to kill herself not her husband.

Yet, after the killing, she sent an 8 page email to his mistress, stating “My husband is NOT going to be yours…I was the last person he was with” which suggests another, “if you leave me, I will kill you”, violent killing, a terrible tragedy.

Does jealousy ever justify killing another?

Simply my opinion, what say you?