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Thread: Woman shoots husband breaking into bedroom, tried for voluntary manslaught, acquitted

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Woman shoots husband breaking into bedroom, tried for voluntary manslaught, acquitted

    I've been trying to make sense out of this story since it first hit the news here a few months ago.

    Two major points... I hope something very significant is missing from the news coverage here because I do not understand why this woman was charged and tried for voluntary manslaughter. For goodness sake, the deceased husband's own mother testified that she was afraid he might try something like this!

    If there is no other significant factor, then I am very disappointed that the Spotsylvania Commonwealth's Attorney chose to persecute this woman. The only thing they seem to base their entire case on is the fallacious opinion that six shots is "too many".

    Here are the series of news articles, you can read for yourselves and see if you can come up with anything I missed:

    6/18/2010 - Spotsy woman charged with murdering her husband
    6/18/2010 - Spotsy woman charged in husband's slaying
    6/19/2010 - Woman held in spouse's slaying
    9/26/2010 - SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY GRAND JURY INDICTMENTS
    1/20/2011 - Prosecution rests in shooting case
    "Prosecutors acknowledged that the evidence supported much of Janay Majors’ story, but contended that she did not need to fire so many shots." [Are you kidding me? --TFred]
    1/21/2011 - UPDATE: Wife acquitted in husband's death
    1/21/2011 - Woman acquitted in husband's death
    "In a statement to police, Janay Majors said her husband was irate and threatening to kill her. She locked herself in a bathroom and began firing when he tried to come in after her."

    "During the trial, Brian Majors was described as a man who frequently lost his temper over relatively minor things. Among the witnesses testifying for the defense was the victim’s mother."
    1/22/2011 - JURY ACQUITS WIDOW
    "Janay Majors was found not guilty of three charges--voluntary manslaughter, reckless handling of a firearm and discharging a firearm in an occupied building--following a two-day trial in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.

    Among the defense witnesses called yesterday was Barbara Majors, the victim's mother.

    She testified that she had been concerned about her son's temper for some time and had urged him to get help for it.

    She said she was "afraid something like this" would happen if he didn't."
    This is crazy. Is Spotsylvania County now a sanctuary for angry wife abusers?

    TFred
    Last edited by TFred; 01-23-2011 at 12:02 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Not to sidestep the issue, but why do women get married or stay with abusive partners? That said, you shoot until the threat has stopped.
    Last edited by AFPVet; 01-23-2011 at 12:14 AM.

  3. #3
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFPVet View Post
    Not to sidestep the issue, but why do women get married or stay with abusive partners? That said, you shoot until the threat has stopped.
    Sadly, that part is often attributed to the mental and emotional abuse that usually comes along with the physical abuse of women. It is difficult for someone not suffering from that kind of abuse to understand it.

    TFred

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I've seen this happen before Nova. Almost the exact thing happened in the 70's in Elkton. In that case the wife was coming after the husband with an ax after breaking down the bedroom door. He shot her and was charged with Manslaughter (Kinda a sexist charge)
    and was found not guilty.

    The name was Loker as I recall.

    He got his shotgun back and I bought it.

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    My only thought/question is: is the Commonwealth's Attorney required to prosecute when a grand jury issues an indictment?
    ---

  6. #6
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlh2005 View Post
    My only thought/question is: is the Commonwealth's Attorney required to prosecute when a grand jury issues an indictment?
    No...but since it's almost always the CA who seeks the indictment, I can't imagine him not.

    Commonwealth Attorney's are usually publicity seeking mad dogs, who want the exposure even though they plan to deal it down.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I saw that it went before the Grand Jury, doesn't the CA send it to them? Somewhere in this process there is a decision to prosecute, no? There are many other similar stories where it was never taken anywhere.

    TFred

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    I have a feeling this is exactly the sort of thing Massad Ayoob is talking about when he says you need to be able to explain yourself to a jury.

    Of course, your attorney explaining it to the prosecutor might help it not making it to a courtroom.

    This case really makes no sense. She was authorized to use lethal force by law. How did the prosecutor decide six was too many? Were the last three into the top of his head? Into his back? I'm thinking the phrasing would have been different if that were the case. Something like, "She kept shooting after the threat stopped as evidenced by three shots in the back."

    I'd be interested to hear more if somebody has the google-fu to find it.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Make my Day?

    Does this case illustrate the need for a 'Make my Day' law, or a 'Stand your Ground' law in Virginia?

  10. #10
    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    What part of a...

    ...."I was afraid for my life and I stopped shooting when I realized the gun was empty" type situation does the Commonwealth's Attorney not get? Huge waste of the people's money. He seems to have been unsatisfactory in his initial fact finding but not wise enough to see a justified shoot. I am glad the system worked for the woman, and sorry it chewed on her first.

  11. #11
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Lance Corporal Rayna Ross

    In a sense, this case brings to mind the Rayna Ross incident in Woodbridge.

    Anyone remember?

  12. #12
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    In a sense, this case brings to mind the Rayna Ross incident in Woodbridge.

    Anyone remember?
    Looks very similar, except that she was cleared by the civilian government first then the Marines decided to try.

    How did that turn out? Google doesn't say.

    TFred

  13. #13
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Looks very similar, except that she was cleared by the civilian government first then the Marines decided to try.

    How did that turn out? Google doesn't say.

    TFred
    The Washington Post
    Article date: March 15, 1994
    Author: Carlos Sanchez Copyright

    A Marine who killed a one-time boyfriend - also a Marine - who had stalked her and turned violent last summer, will not face a court-martial, military authorities announced yesterday in the reversal of a decision to charge the woman with murder.

    Lance Cpl. Rayna E. Ross, 22, received word yesterday morning that Gen. Martin R. Steele, commanding general of the Quantico Base, had decided during the weekend to drop murder charges against her. She would have faced life in prison if convicted.

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