Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Trial Begins For Woman Accused Of Killing Her Mother

Testimony began Tuesday in the case of a woman accused of stabbing her mother to death and lighting the body on fire in Madison. Kim McLaughlin faces murder and arson charges in the death of her mother, Shirley Robuck, 73. Prosecutors told the jury Tuesday that Robuck was stabbed repeatedly and her body set on fire. Robuck was found dead in September of 2009 at her home. A neighbor testified she saw McLaughlin coming out of the woods near the home covered in blood. McLaughlin has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Monday, during jury selection, Madison County Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall issued a warning to McLaughlin. After an incident last week when McLaughlin reportedly stood up and tried talking to a witness, Judge Hall told the defendant if she tries to speak to anyone in the courtroom during this trial besides her defense team, she will be put into a shock belt by court security. Tuesday the judge reminded the defense team after the defendant allegedly made some gestures towards the jury during testimony. The defense team says McLaughlin, 51, is mentally unfit to stand trial. McLaughlin’s defense team has previously argued their client did not understand the court proceedings due to mental defect. However, after expert testimony, the judge ruled McLaughlin was in fact competent to stand trial. The judge has also ordered both sides not to discuss possible outcomes for sentencing during the trial with the jury. The trial will continue Wednesday at the Madison County Courthouse

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