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An Ohio mother accused of convincing her then 10-year-old adoptive son to shoot his father dead has accepted a plea deal after winning the right to a new trial.
Judith Hawkey, 52, had been scheduled to go on trial this week in the mysterious 2003 shooting death of her husband. But instead, she entered an Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering charges.
Plea - Guilt - Prosecutors - Evidence
The plea means she did not admit guilt, but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her.
Last week a judge sentenced her to 10 years in prison, including the more than five she already has served.
Defiance - County - Prosecutor - Morris - Murray
Defiance County Prosecutor Morris Murray said Tuesday that he agreed to the plea deal because he wanted to make sure his office secured a conviction tying Hawkey to her husband's death.
'We felt strongly she was definitely involved and had a substantial influence over the child,' he said. 'There was no question this was not an accidental shooting.'
Factors - Appeals - Court - Ruling - Conviction
Several factors, including the appeals court ruling, would have made getting a second conviction more difficult, he said.
In 2016 a state appeals court ordered a second trial for Hawkey because it said testimony shouldn't have been allowed from three witnesses.
Appeals - Court - Judges - Evidence - Conviction
The appeals court judges said there was enough evidence for a conviction at Hawkey's first trial, but they also called the case a not overwhelming one - saying everything originated from her adopted son, Corey Breininger.
It was the son who came home from elementary school in 2003 and fired the shot that killed his father, Robert Breininger, at their house outside Defiance, near the Indiana state line.
Accident - Way - Decade - Corey - Breininger
The shooting initially was ruled an accident and stayed that way for nearly a decade until Corey Breininger told a former teacher, and then investigators, that Hawkey persuaded him to kill his father because he was dying and to make it look...
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