The jury in the Dixie Shanahan murder trial returned its verdict this morning. At about 10:25 A.M., Judge Charles Smith read the verdict at the Shelby County Courthouse in Harlan. Second-degree murder carries with it a sentence of up to 50 years in prison, and a person must serve at least 35 years before they can be paroled. Shanahan’s attorney, Greg Steensland, says the verdict sends a “chilling message” to women living with domestic abuse. Steensland says the verdict sends a bad message to battered women everywhere who find themselves in an “inescapable situation.” Steensland made it clear, he did not think the jury erred. He says the jury simply used current state law in making the ruling. Steensland says jurors had to deal with the law, and he doesn’t “blame them” for the verdict they returned. Judge Smith ordered Shanahan taken into custody immediate and her bond was revoked. Sentencing has been scheduled tentatively for May 10th. Shanahan was convicted in the shotgun killing of her husband, Scott. She kept the body sealed in a bedroom for more than a year.
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