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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Published: July 16, 2008 03:31 am ShareThisPrintThis
Defense: Murder suspect was in constant fear
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

DANVERS - Kathie DeFelice lived in fear, the kind of fear "you can taste in your mouth," for the seven years she spent with William Olsen Jr., her lawyer told jurors yesterday.
During their time together, Olsen knocked out a tooth and broke her arm and sexually abused her; he subjected her to constant humiliation and insults; and, over and over again, he threatened to kill her, defense lawyer Edward Hayden said during his opening statement in DeFelice's murder trial yesterday.
The years of abuse led DeFelice to develop "battered women's syndrome," said the lawyer. And on the night she killed him, she was in fear for her life and acting in self-defense, he said.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall acknowledged that "there were moments of true ugliness" in the couple's relationship and that Olsen should not have been at DeFelice's Lynn apartment on the night of Oct. 30, 2006 - a domestic restraining order barred him from contact with her.
But in the days before the slaying, DeFelice had made many calls to Olsen - her cell phone records showed more than five hours' worth of calls to Olsen's Danvers apartment between Oct. 25 and 30.
The contents of those calls is unknown, and the prosecutor didn't offer a motive but told jurors that when DeFelice "plunged the knife into William Olsen's chest, that was first-degree murder."
A jury of seven women and seven men began hearing evidence yesterday in the case against DeFelice, a former legal secretary and single mother whose life entered a downward spiral in the late 1990s, not long before she met Olsen, a housepainter.
The relationship was troubled and the troubles were well-documented: five restraining orders obtained against Olsen by DeFelice and three domestic abuse charges brought against Olsen, then dismissed after DeFelice stopped cooperating with prosecutors.
The two began dating in April 1998, Hayden said, and it was a month into the relationship that the abuse began.
She didn't leave, Hayden said, "because she was weak and she was vulnerable."
'Nowhere to go'
Olsen would "promise he wouldn't do it again, and he did do it again and again, usually when he drank, and he drank a lot," Hayden said.
She moved in with him, Hayden said, because she had nowhere else to go.
As the abuse escalated, "she was too embarrassed to tell anyone," Hayden said.
"He abused her in order to control her, to control her body, to control her money and to control her life," Hayden said, as DeFelice, 48, wept.
When DeFelice found out she was pregnant, "he told her to have an abortion," Hayden said. Though she wanted the child, she obeyed him, he said.
When Olsen told her she should kill herself, DeFelice attempted suicide, Hayden said.
When Olsen told her not to go to court and not to cooperate with prosecutors, she obeyed him, the lawyer said.
She left a few times, but always returned, the lawyer said. "She couldn't make it on her own."
"She walked on eggshells for seven years because of what he did to her," Hayden said. And living with that fear, he said, "is going to affect your mind."
Battered women's syndrome is defined in part as a lack of self-respect and self-esteem, emotional dependence on the abuser, and "it causes people to do things that are not in their best interest," Hayden said.
A knife in the heart
On the night Olsen died, both DeFelice and Olsen had been drinking - DeFelice admitted to drinking a bottle of wine and two beers.
"He was still a batterer; she was still a victim," Hayden said. But DeFelice made another attempt to end the relationship that night.
"She tells him something he doesn't want to hear," Hayden said. "She tells him to stay away and to not contact her family."
"She got the look from him," Hayden said. "She had seen that look. She knew a beating was right around the corner."
DeFelice told her lawyer that Olsen whispered, "I'm going to have to kill you," then put his arm around her throat and squeezed. She said she struggled to pull his arm away, then spotted a kitchen knife on the coffee table and grabbed it.
She jabbed the knife upward and into his chest, hitting his heart, the lawyer said.
MacDougall said Olsen bled to death within minutes.
"The defendant plunged that knife into his heart and then she left," MacDougall said.
But DeFelice didn't call 911.
Instead, MacDougall told jurors, she walked 21/2 miles, from her Union Street apartment to Vinnin Square in Swampscott, where she called Lynn police from a pay phone. She used the department's nonemergency number.
'Check my home'
DeFelice was wearing just a red and black sundress and cowboy boots on that cold fall night and had red scratchlike marks on her neck, a cut on her forehead and some bruises.
Even when Swampscott police officers arrived, it took awhile for her to tell them to check on Olsen, Patrolman Todd Pierce testified.
"You need to check my home," DeFelice told former Swampscott Patrolman Thomas Wrenn. When he asked why, she told him, "I think I hurt him real bad," Sgt. Jonathan Locke testified. "I stabbed him with a knife."
Lynn police went to the apartment, which was locked. Patrolman Edward Monahan said he kicked in the door and found Olsen sitting on a sofa, his legs spread out straight and his head and torso slumped over. It was clear he was dead.
Members of both Olsen's and DeFelice's families were in court yesterday. The two families greeted each other with hugs.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A cold killer or a victim? Jury weighs DeFelice's fate

Published: July 23, 2008 06:31 am ShareThisPrintThis
A cold killer or a victim? Jury weighs DeFelice's fate
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

DANVERS - Two very different scenarios in the death of William Olsen Jr. were offered to jurors yesterday during closing arguments in the trial of Olsen's former girlfriend, Kathie DeFelice, who is charged with his murder.
DeFelice's lawyer, Ed Hayden, painted a portrait of a terrified woman and a controlling, violent man set off by a simple request.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Kate MacDougall described a manipulative woman who made up a story about being attacked after stabbing Olsen in her own fit of jealous anger.
DeFelice, 48, of Lynn, admits that she stabbed Olsen, 55, of Danvers, in her apartment, but says she acted in self-defense after years of abuse.
A jury of six men and six women began deliberating her fate yesterday afternoon. They have several options: They could find her guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter or not guilty.
"She was terrified of him, and who could blame her?" Hayden argued. "Seven years of beatings and threats and control. That is why she feared him. Not surprisingly, that fear had an effect on her. It twisted her thinking, it warped her judgment, it caused her to do things that were not in her own best interest.
"But the ironic thing is that on Oct. 30, 2006, she did exercise good judgment," Hayden said. "She did act in her best interest."
When Olsen put his arm around her throat, Hayden argued, "she did the one thing that would save herself, the one thing that would have stopped him. She acted in self-defense, and that was good judgment."
But MacDougall pointed out that DeFelice admitted that she did not kill Olsen because of what had happened in the past.
And when DeFelice took the witness stand, "she still doesn't tell a story that made any kind of sense," the prosecutor said.
Instead, she offered a "self-serving" account of her relationship and of the night in question.
Lonely and upset?
MacDougall argued that it was DeFelice who flew into a violent rage that night, perhaps set off by Olsen talking about the clothing that his new girlfriend had made him buy.
DeFelice said she "blindly" grabbed for a knife on the table, yet "she gets awfully lucky," said the prosecutor, delivering a single stab wound to the center of his chest, at the right angle to pierce his pericardial sac and his aorta.
"She stabbed him directly in the chest," MacDougall said. "She stabbed him ... in the heart."
"She's lonely, and she doesn't want to be alone," MacDougall told jurors, recalling how her new boyfriend had just gone home for the night against her wishes. She had been drinking wine. She was all dressed up, in a red dress and black high-heeled boots.
So in spite of a restraining order she had renewed just a month earlier, she called Olsen that night - three times - until he agreed to come over.
"It doesn't take an expert to tell you what was going on," MacDougall said. "It just takes some familiarity with human nature."
MacDougall suggested that DeFelice was upset because Olsen no longer called her, or she was jealous of his new relationship, or simply that he had fallen asleep on her - another man to abandon her that night.
The prosecutor reminded jurors of the five empty beer cans that rested, undisturbed, on a coffee table, and another beer can under Olsen's elbow when he was found, and questioned how there could have been a struggle between the two.
How, the prosecutor asked, did Olsen pull the knife out of his own chest without disturbing the beer can near his arm? And if it was unintentional, why didn't she seek help immediately?
"At the end of the day, her story doesn't hold water," MacDougall said.
Arguing the evidence
But Hayden argued that there is evidence to corroborate her account. Hayden pointed to Olsen's DNA being found on her throat. "How do you think it got there?" Hayden asked.
MacDougall countered by pointing out that Olsen was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt that night and suggested the DNA may have come from a hug when they greeted.
And those scratches on DeFelice's neck? Hayden said those came from DeFelice's own nails as she struggled to pull Olsen's arm from her throat.
MacDougall expressed skepticism about that, noting that the scratches went across her neck and not up and down, as might be expected if she was grabbing around someone's arm.
And she pointed out that DeFelice's manicure was completely intact. "She's fighting for her life yet she doesn't even chip a nail?" the prosecutor said.
Hayden said his client did what anyone else would do in that situation.
"No one thinks about breathing until you can't, and this is what she was faced with," Hayden said. "She couldn't get her next breath, and that was all she wanted, and he wasn't going to let her have it. She did exactly what every single person would have done."

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121,497 Posts
Lynn woman convicted of killing ex

SALEM, Mass. -- A Lynn woman has been found guilty of manslaughter for fatally stabbing her abusive former boyfriend.
Kathie DeFelice had faced a first-degree murder charge, but a Salem Superior Court jury on Thursday found her guilty of the lesser charge after three days of deliberations.
Sentencing is scheduled for Monday when she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors say the 48-year-old DeFelice stabbed 55-year-old William Olsen Jr. in the heart in October 2006.
DeFelice testified that she stabbed him in self-defense as he tried to strangle her. The defense claimed she suffered from battered women's syndrome. Defense lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.
Prosecutors said DeFelice was angry that Olsen had a new girlfriend.

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121,497 Posts
Woman Sentenced For Killing Boyfriend

DeFelice Found Guilty Of Manslaughter

SALEM, Mass. -- A Lynn woman has been sentenced to eight to 13 years in state prison for fatally stabbing her allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend.

Kathie DeFelice had faced a first-degree murder charge, but a Salem Superior Court jury last week found her guilty of manslaughter after three-day deliberations.

Prosecutors say that DeFelice was in a seven-year relationship with William Olsen, Jr., 55, and obtained a restraining order against him. Phone records showed that she called Olsen in the days before his death, with some calls lasting more than five hours. Prosecutors said DeFelice was angry that Olsen had a new girlfriend.
DeFelice testified that she stabbed Olsen in self-defense as he tried to strangle her. The defense claimed she suffered from battered women's syndrome. Her lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Published: July 29, 2008 12:01 am ShareThisPrintThis
Woman gets 8-13 years in ex-boyfriend's stabbing
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

Click here to read the judge's sentencing memorandum.

Click here to read a statement from the victim's sister.
DANVERS - Kathie DeFelice made one last plea for mercy yesterday as she was about to learn her sentence for the stabbing death of former boyfriend William Olsen Jr., a killing she said was in self-defense after years of abuse.
"I loved Bill, and I still do," she said, breaking down in sobs. "I'm sorry that it came to this. I think about him every day. I think about what happened all the time. I'm sorry he's gone. I ask you to have some mercy."
But Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy said it was his obligation to impose sentence "without passion, sympathy, mercy or favor," as he sentenced DeFelice, 48, to eight to 13 years in state prison for manslaughter.
"Ms. DeFelice needs to be punished," Lowy read from a sentencing memorandum. "Our social compact and the concept of ordered liberty cannot long endure if a victim's response to domestic violence is with the blade of a knife to the heart of her batterer."
DeFelice was indicted on a first-degree murder charge, but on Thursday a jury found her guilty of manslaughter, one of two lesser charges jurors were allowed to consider in Olsen's Oct. 30, 2006, death.
Olsen, a 55-year-old Danvers housepainter, had been arrested three times on domestic abuse charges and was the subject of five restraining orders during the couple's stormy seven-year relationship.
At the heart of DeFelice's defense was her assertion that she suffered from battered women's syndrome, a condition similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, in which victims return to their abuser, blame themselves for their situation and, in some cases, overreact to a perceived threat.
Though Olsen and DeFelice had been separated for more than a year by a restraining order, DeFelice initiated contact with Olsen two weeks before the stabbing. After a series of lengthy phone calls - all of them from DeFelice to Olsen - Olsen went to her Lynn apartment.
It was there that DeFelice stabbed him with a kitchen knife that entered the center of his chest, pierced his pericardial sac and aorta, and caused him to bleed to death within minutes. DeFelice testified that she grabbed the knife from a table and stabbed blindly as Olsen tried to strangle her, provoked, she said, by her request that he stop contacting her family. Then she ran out of the apartment.
But prosecutor Kate MacDougall offered jurors a different scenario, one in which DeFelice was jealous that Olsen had moved on, starting a new relationship, that she was angry because her own new boyfriend had decided to go home for the night, that she felt abandoned, perhaps, when Olsen passed out drunk on the sofa.
MacDougall urged Lowy to impose a 15-to-18-year prison term, reminding the judge that DeFelice "stabbed Mr. Olsen and then left him to die."
"He was not the monster the defendant made him out to be," said MacDougall, who said Olsen never got to tell his side of the story.
But family members did speak of him yesterday as a caring man who they say actually tried to help DeFelice.
Olsen's daughter, Leila Thomas, acknowledged that her father "struggled to find his way" in life, pursuing his dreams of playing the guitar and writing poetry, inventing a board game, and other passions.
It was one of those passions, Thomas said, his love for DeFelice, that proved fatal.
"I pray in this case ... that justice has no gender," Thomas said.
Olsen's sister, Cheryl Smith, said that the single "thrust of a blade" that killed her brother destroyed many other lives, as well.
"We as a family cannot even begin to express how this tragic event has taken a toll on our emotions," Smith said in a victim impact statement. "No matter how much you cry with such heartache and sorrow the pain never goes away."
Smith, who also read a poem, urged Lowy to impose the maximum sentence available. In Massachusetts, manslaughter carries up to a 20-year prison term.
Defense lawyer Edward Hayden pointed to state sentencing guidelines that suggest an eight-to-10-year prison term in a manslaughter case in which a person has no prior record.
He urged the judge to impose just half as much time, four to five years, saying DeFelice, a former legal secretary, was a productive member of society until she began suffering from chronic fatigue 15 years ago, calling it "the triggering event that made her life unravel."
"I think it's safe to say the jury believed she used excessive force in self-defense," Hayden said.
Lowy said he did not agree, saying there is no way to know what the jury believed, suggesting the jury could have also concluded that the prosecution hadn't proven some of the required elements of first-degree murder.
In his sentencing memorandum, the judge said, "Only Ms. DeFelice knows what happened in that room on Oct. 30, 2006, but we know that the jury did not find beyond a reasonable doubt an absence of excessive force in self-defense, heat of passion or sudden combat."
The judge went on to say that the sentencing was a difficult one, since he has no more idea what happened in DeFelice's apartment that night than anyone else.
"This is not to say that victims of domestic violence should not defend themselves, but this jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not defending herself in lawful self-defense."
Hayden, who plans to appeal the verdict, still believes that the jury found she was acting in self-defense.
"I think that's the logical conclusion with that verdict," Hayden said. "They got the picture."
Family members of DeFelice said they were disappointed with the length of the sentence.
"You always hope for less, but there's not much you can do," said Alexandria DeFelice, who testified about witnessing Olsen abuse her mother during the trial.
DeFelice was given credit for the nearly two years she has spent in custody awaiting trial. She will be eligible for parole in a little more than six years.

Click here to read the judge's sentencing memorandum.

Click here to read a statement from the victim's sister
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