The state Judicial Building.

The Iowa Supreme Court says a Muscatine woman should have been allowed to explore whether abuse played a role in her fatal shooting of her ex-boyfriend.

A jury found Cathryn Ann Linn guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 after she shot Barry Blanchard to death with a rifle in her bedroom. She had testified that Blanchard was trying to assault her and had repeatedly abused and threatened her before the shooting.

Linn appealed her conviction saying her lawyer was ineffective and the district court was wrong to not allow her have an expert try to determine if she suffered from Battered Woman Syndrome.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled the district court did abuse its discretion in denying the expert. The supreme court says the trial transcript shows evidence of physical, psychological, and verbal abuse of the type that causes BWS.

The ruling says the court is not deciding where Linn suffered from the syndrome, but says she deserves the review of an expert to determine if that might have played a role in her justification for shooting Blanchard.

Here’s the ruling: Linn-Battered-Woman-Syndrome-ruling-PDF