Kimberly McLaughlin was convicted of homicide on Friday in the death of her mother, Shirley Robuck, in September of 2009. McLaughlin reportedly stabbed her mother over 200 times, cutting Robuck’s head from her body, and setting both on fire. An arson charge was also filed, but the jury found McLaughlin not guilty.
McLaughlin displayed no emotion as the verdict was read. The jury’s deliberations lasted five hours over a two-day span.
The defense argued that McLaughlin had been mentally ill at the time of the incident, describing her highly abnormal psychological condition as a mitigating factor. McLaughlin was reported to claim that her mother’s head continued to breathe after death.
The prosecution countered that McLaughlin understood the nature of her actions, and cast doubt on the defense’s claims of mental illness by pointing to a history of angry outbursts and cocaine abuse.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
The full report from The Huntsville Times can be found here.
It is not clear what kind of sentence was sought by the prosecution, but homicide convictions can mean lengthy prison sentences and, possibly, capital punishment. It is also possible that McLaughlin’s attorneys will pursue the appeals process.
Given the seriousness of a homicide conviction, it’s crucial to hire an attorney who can combine first-rate legal acumen with years of experience in homicide cases. A conviction need not be the last word on a given case, and a top-notch attorney can be of help in navigating the appeals process.