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Marshfield man freed after pleading no contest to felony murder

Many people currently in relationships in Waukesha may feel as though domestic violence is something that they'll never have to personally deal with. While that hopefully remains true, those same people may be surprised at how quickly tempers can flare up during an argument and how easily self-control can be lost and violence and criminal charges can come as a result. Sadly, sometimes it only takes one blow to yield tragic results.

Such was the recent case involving a Stratford couple. The man slapped the woman in the face during a heated discussion, and she ended up dying the following day due to a bleeding artery in her brain. The man was initially convicted of felony murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Recently, after almost a year-and-a-half behind bars, the man was freed after being awarded a second trial. The basis for the new trial was that the man didn't fully understand what prosecutors initially had to prove in order to gain a conviction for felony murder. In this case, it wasn't necessary for them to prove that he intended to kill her when he struck her, but merely that she died as a result of the assault.

Once the new trial was ordered, a plea agreement was reached between the prosecutor and the defendant after the state discovered that a part of the victim's body that was meant to have played a critical role in both side's arguments had vanished. In exchange for a plea of no contest, the man was credited for time served and given a reduced sentence of almost six-and-a-half years of extended supervision.

No one ever anticipates the moment when they lose their temper and with it, their sense of restraint. Remembering the potential tragic consequences of such a mistake may help in reigning one's emotions back in. If not, and one does result to violence, an experienced defense attorney may help in turning a potentially catastrophic scenario into a manageable one.

Source: Daily Journal "Wisconsin man avoids more prison time in sentencing for girlfriend's beating death" Oct. 21, 2013

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