Friday, August 13, 2010

Woman who killed estranged husband recieves life without parole

A Baltimore County teacher was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of her husband Tuesday, August 10. Mary C. Koontz was sentenced to the maximum sentence for the 1st degree murder of her husband, Ronald G. Koontz, who was 66 when murdered. Ronald was a recently retired Baltimore County public school administrator.

The murder was committed on June 19, 2009, at the Koontz home in Glen Arm, Maryland. Mary shot her husband to death with a handgun, then went after her then 16 year old daughter Kelsey. After a 9 day trial and three days of deliberations, she was fouind criminally responsible for the murder of her husband and the attempted murder of now 17 year old daughter Kelsey. The guilty verdict took place July 8.

The defense said Koontz shouldn't be held responsible because she was delusional and had been isolated from her family since 2007 when, after a mental evaluation, she wasn't welcome in the home. Throughout the trial, several doctors testified that Koontz had been diagnosed with several different mental disorders.

A doctor for the defense said she didn't believe that Koontz was faking being mentally ill the day she killed her husband; however another doctor said Koontz was diagnosed with a disorder where she put her needs in front of others, and another said he didn't believe she was psychotic during the incident based on her actions prior to the killing.

When Koontz took the stand in her own defense, she said she didn't mean what she said in the messages.

Koontz said she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and borderline personality disorder, and she'd been treated for depression since 1991. She said she was in a fog the day her husband was killed, and she told jurors she didn't remember pulling the trigger. Koontz claimed she was also trying to commit suicide. She told jurors her husband was abusive and that he referred to her as damaged and criticized her for a lot of things.

The prosecution said that Mary was deliberate when she planned the attack on her husband and daughter, because she concealed the rental car she used to try and get away and bought the gun ont of state.

During sentencing, Kelsey gave a victim impact statement which ended with "I know if I ever see her face again, my life will be at risk and it will be the last face I ever see." Mary said to Kelsey and her son from a previous marriage that “Words are totally inadequate. You deserve nothing but goodness in your life.”

After Mary received her life without parole sentence, Kelsey said, "I just wanted her to hear how much she hurt me ... Maybe she had bad things happen in her childhood, but it's an individual's responsibility to get help, talk to people, make sure you don't lead the rest of your life down a path of no return...I think that my mom should be a lesson to everyone that no matter what you're going through right now, you can get past it and you can move on. You can be a better person for whatever you're going through in your life."

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