Conviction, Life Term in Beating Death Overturned

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Updated: 3/20 3:31 pm
From the Associated Press:

The Kentucky Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a Lexington man in the slaying of his estranged wife after concluding that prosecutors improperly used circumstantial evidence.

Justice Mary Noble wrote for the court that 52-year-old Donald Southworth should get a new trial in the 2010 death of Umi Southworth. Noble's decision centers on the admission of evidence that Southworth took a used condom and later used it to plant semen on his wife's body to stage a sexual assault.

Justices Will T. Scott and Bill Cunningham would have upheld the conviction, calling the evidence a unique "signature" of the crime that could be traced to Donald Southworth.

Umi Southworth was found hidden behind the couple's home, beaten with a belt wrapped around her neck.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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