Started by gentlegiant, Apr 23, 2007, 09:17 AM
By Harry Swartz-TurfleCourt TV NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Hope Mercer says she had only one thing in her mind before the verdict was read in her murder trial."No weapon formed against you shall prosper."As Mercer thought about this verse from the book of Isaiah, a Nashville jury pronounced her not guilty in the 2005 shooting death of her attorney husband, Joseph Mercer III.Mercer, 34, began sobbing when the verdict was read. She clasped her hands to her face as her curly red hair spilled onto the defense table. She was free. (VIDEO)Two hours after the verdict, Mercer was giddy.Story continues "Today I got some closure," Mercer said in an interview with Court TV, "and now I can think about tomorrow."Prosecutors charged Hope Mercer with second-degree murder, saying she intentionally shot her husband during a bitter divorce argument. Mercer told investigators that her husband died after the two struggled over a handgun and it accidentally went off.Mercer said she was sleeping in the couple's home at midnight April 16, 2005, when her husband burst into the locked bedroom and demanded that she move out of the home immediately. She said he began throwing clothes and jewelry from her closet, looking for her car keys, so he could take her car away.He returned to the bedroom holding a .22-caliber handgun, she said.When he put the gun on a dresser, she either grabbed it or put her hand on it, and when he lunged forward, it fired, hitting him in the neck, she claimed.Davidson County prosecutors argued that the bullet wound and gun's operation proved the shooting could not have been an accident, although no motive was ever presented to the jury.Mercer rejected plea deal offers made by prosecutors before the trial."We always knew it would come out this way if we found 12 good people," her attorney Hal Hardin said Monday.Dumaka Shabazz, the co-counsel who delivered Mercer's closing argument, said the prosecution simply didn't have a case."They put on three expert witnesses and those witnesses testified for us," said Shabazz, referring to experts who failed to rule out accidental death. "Their expert witnesses were our expert witnesses."The Davidson County district attorney's office released a statement after the verdict affirming its respect for the jury's decision, saying, "We have faith in the judicial system."Hardin, who was appointed U.S. attorney by President Jimmy Carter and once taught Hope Mercer's criminal law class at the Nashville School of Law, appeared proud of his client and former student as she spoke after the verdict.Mercer said she plans to continue practicing law, although she's "less idealistic" about the system having been a defendant.She also plans to change her last name back to her maiden name."It's the beginning," she said.Video of the verdict will be available Tuesday on Court TV
When he put the gun on a dresser, she either grabbed it or put her hand on it, and when he lunged forward, it fired, hitting him in the neck, she claimed.
Mercer said she plans to continue practicing law, although she's "less idealistic" about the system having been a defendant.