The fate of a western Iowa woman accused of murder is now in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments wrapped up a little before noon in the Dixie Shanahan murder trial. In his closing statements, prosecutor Charles Thoman disputed the defense argument that Dixie Shanahan shot her husband Scott in self-defense. He asked, “Did the dependent have reasonable grounds to believe her life was in danger, did she have reasonable grounds to believe she had to use this kind of force? Was the force used reasonable? Under no circumstance could that be the case here, he’s lying in bed.” Thoman said there is no doubt that Scott Shanahan was an abusive husband. But he says there is no way Scott Shanahan was abusing Dixie when Dixie shot him. He says, “it’s not reasonable to go in and shoot someone in the back of the head and claim that you acted in self defense.” He says Scott was lying in bed sleeping and Dixie didn’t act with justification. Defense attorney Greg Steensland said Dixie Shanahan DID act in self-defense. He says Scott Shanahan was lying in bed with a shotgun next to the bed. Dixie went into the bedroom to use the phone to call for help, and she saw Scott move. She thought he was going for the shotgun, so she grabbed the gun first and fired. He says,”This case is not about, ‘I’ve been abused for 18 years, so I get to kill the abuse,’ that’s not what this case is about.” He says the case is about the events on August 30th — the day Scott Shanahan was killed. Steensland said Shanahan cannot be found guilty of first- or second-degree murder, because she didn’t act with malice: He says, “there is no malice in this case. There is no murder in this case, for that reason, as well as others, murder in the first-degree and second-degree require malice. And it does not exist.” The jury started deliberations a little after noon and judge Charles Smith instructed jurors to continue deliberations until at least five tonight. He also told them they could deliberate into the evening, if they choose to. If a verdict isn’t reached today, jurors will meet again tomorrow to continue deliberating.
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