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2 women who said abuse spurred killings, freed

2 women who said abuse spurred killings, freed

October 17th, 2010 in News

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Two women who spent more than 30 years in Missouri prisons for killing their abusive husbands were released Friday after their lawyer argued that a recent law made them eligible for parole.

Carlene Borden, 65, and 55-year-old Vicky Williams won their freedom in part because of a 2007 law that provides for battered women who kill their spouses.

To be eligible for parole under the new law, the women had to have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms without the possibility of parole and must have served at least 15 years and met other criteria.

Amy Lorenz-Moser, an attorney who represents both women, said she had breakfast with Borden on Friday morning after Borden was released from prison in Vandalia. Williams was released at nearly the same time from a prison in Chillicothe, in western Missouri.

Lorenz-Moser said Borden was too emotional to speak with reporters, but seemed elated to be free. They went to a local diner, and Borden ordered off the menu for the first time in three decades, Lorenz-Moser said.

"She's been eating powdered eggs for 32 years and wanted to have some real eggs," Lorenz-Moser said.

Lorenz-Moser is part of a team of attorneys who took on the cases of Borden, Williams and nine other women. The attorneys were seeking the women's release based partly on the grounds that evidence of their abuse was not admissible at the time when the women were on trial for murder.

All 11 women are free now except for one, Lorenz-Moser said. The lone exception is 57-year-old Ruby Jamerson, who has been granted parole but won't be released until 2013.

In 2008 and again last September, the state parole board had denied freedom for all three women. The second rejection prompted a lawsuit, and attorneys for the women obtained a court order forcing the board to again consider the case.

Borden got married at age 14, and was convicted in 1978 of killing her husband, Delbert, as he sat in a chair in their Springfield home. Authorities said she conspired with her lover in the shooting.

Borden's attorneys argued at trial that her husband often beat her and had even broken her nose.

Williams' husband, Gilbert, was shot to death in a murder-for-hire case in 1979 while on duty as a security guard in the St. Louis County town of Chesterfield. Prosecutors said Williams worried she would lose her children in a custody dispute.