DEFIANCE - Kimberly Anderson has returned to her Auglaize County home a free woman.
“Obviously, a burden has been lifted off her. She can breathe a bit freer now,” her attorney, Alan Konop of Toledo, said yesterday.
A jury Wednesday night acquitted Mrs. Anderson, the mother of four, on three charges in connection with the shooting death of her estranged husband, Brent, 37.
The shooting occurred Sept. 2, 2001, just after Mr. Anderson returned the couple's two young sons to their mother's rural Wapakoneta home. She claimed she shot him in self-defense.
The case was moved to Defiance County Common Pleas Court at the defense's request because of publicity in Auglaize County, where Mr. Anderson was an attorney.
Edwin Pierce, the Auglaize County prosecutor who handled the case, said he was disappointed with the jury's verdict, which came after about six hours of deliberations.
“We thought that through the investigation, a strong case had been developed,” Mr. Pierce said. “We believed a strong case was presented and we had sufficient proof on all counts.”
He said the verdict was shocking and difficult for Mr. Anderson's family.
Mr. Anderson's family members have a separate civil suit pending against Mrs. Anderson for the death.
Mr. Konop said Mrs. Anderson plans to get on with her life, which includes working again as a respiratory therapist.
When his client took the stand, Mr. Konop said, the 38-year-old told jurors she was fearful for her and her children's' lives at her husband's hands. Mrs. Anderson had two boys with Mr. Anderson, and two teenagers from a previous marriage.
“She finally had a chance to tell the story,” he said. “It was one of self-defense, and the jury said yes, it was self-defense.”
In opening arguments, Mr. Konop told the jury a series of events during the summer of 2001 “gradually led to an acceleration of fear” for Mrs. Anderson, including threats Mr. Anderson had made to “take the whole family out.”
Mr. Konop said the couple had reached an agreement on the terms of their divorce when she learned he may have been sexually molesting their 3-year-old son. She confronted him the day he was killed, and an argument ensued.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, said in court that Mrs. Anderson had learned of the allegations of sexual abuse weeks before the shooting, yet she allowed her children to go with their father for an overnight visit.
They also pointed to the fact that Mrs. Anderson shot her husband eight times with a .380 semiautomatic handgun she kept in her bedroom. She emptied it into her husband in the closet of the master bedroom.