Inmates Ordered Free
Lynda Branch and Shirley Lute, both sentenced in the 1980's for killing their abusive husbands, will be released on parole after a court decision made Monday morning.
The Missouri Supreme Court made the decision on Branch two weeks ago, and then asked the state parole board to also consider Lute for release. The board decided both women will be released once paperwork is finalized.
In separate cases, Branch, 54, and Lute, 76, were sentenced to fifty years in jail without parole for killing their husbands. Lute is the oldest female inmate in Missouri, and Branch is the first woman in the state to use battered wife syndrome as a defense.
In an interview while she was still in prison, Branch talked about how she felt during her marriage.
"I was so devastated that I was almost praying that I would die. It was like.. you know.. anything would have been better than living through this, but I can't leave," Branch said in a previous interview with KOMU.
"I stayed for many reasons like a fear of failure. I'd already failed in one marriage."
Former governor Bob Holden commuted both women's sentences in 2004, but the parole board denied their release. The Supreme Court got involved and ruled the board couldn't consider the circumstances of the crimes.