Parole denied for 3 women who claimed abuse -

Parole denied for 3 women who claimed abuse

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Parole has been denied for three Missouri women who claimed domestic abuse led them to kill their husbands, a state official said Friday.

The women -- Vicky Williams, Carlene Borden and Ruby Jamerson -- won't be eligible for another hearing for three years, said Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman Angie Morefeld. She said details of the decision are confidential.

The attorney who represented Williams and Borden said she likely will appeal.

"Obviously we're very disappointed," said Amy Lorenz-Moser. "It's very sad because it shows victims of domestic violence their stories are not going to be believed. It seems like the parole board is suggesting these women aren't telling the truth about being abused even though there's evidence to the contrary."

Jamerson's attorney, Trisha Harrison, called the decision "troubling," but declined to speculate on an appeal.

"I'm deeply disappointed they didn't release her," Harrison said. "We don't know why they decided this."

In 2007, then-Gov. Matt Blunt signed a law providing the opportunity for parole for battered women convicted of murder and sentenced to lengthy prison terms -- life without the possibility of parole for 50 years or longer. To be eligible for parole under the new law, those women must have served at least 15 years and met other criteria.

Williams, 54, Borden, 64, and Jamerson, 56, all have served more than 20 years in prison, Lorenz-Moser said. Williams is housed at the prison in Chillicothe; Jamerson and Borden are at the prison in Vandalia.

Attorneys for all three women have said they felt murder was their only option. But prosecutors said there was no evidence of abuse.

A recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch cited a letter to the parole board from St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch that said, "The history of this case refutes any claims of physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse." McCulloch's office handled the prosecution of Williams and Jamerson. He did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

Greene County prosecutor Darrell Moore argued against Borden's release.

"There was never any credible evidence she suffered from abuse," Moore said. "She got what she deserved from a jury many years ago and I'm glad to see the parole board is not releasing her."

Williams, Borden, Jamerson and a fourth woman, Lana Anderson, had their first parole hearings last fall after passage of the 2007 law. Anderson, convicted in a murder-for-hire killing of her husband in 1987, was granted release; the other three were denied.

Attorneys went to court and a judge ordered new hearings, which took place this month.

Williams' husband, Gilbert, was shot to death in a murder-for-hire case in 1979. She was sentenced to life without parole for at least 50 years. Prosecutors said Williams worried she would lose her children in a custody dispute. Her attorney said she was the victim of years of physical and sexual abuse.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Borden married at 14. Her attorneys claimed at trial in 1978 that she was often beaten, suffering a broken nose. Prosecutors said Borden and her lover shot her husband, Delbert.

Jamerson's husband, Horace, was stabbed to death in his sleep at his home in St. Louis County. Jamerson was convicted of first-degree murder for plotting the killing in 1988. She claimed she often was abused and beaten by her husband.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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