Photo by Elaine Rackley: Wanda Stanley (right) spoke with a member of her defense team, Friday, during a hearing in Henry County Superior Court. Stanley is on trial for the murder of her husband, John Stanley, Sr.
A jury –– of seven women and five men, along with a male and female alternate –– has been selected in the Wanda Stanley murder trial, scheduled to begin Monday at 9 a.m., before Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero.
Stanley is accused of killing her 45-year-old husband, John Stanley, Sr., in December of 2008. His body was found in his vehicle, in College Park, on Dec. 26, of that year. She is charged with malice murder and felony murder.
Friday, Judge Amero ruled that Wanda Stanley’s attorneys will be able to use the Battered Woman Syndrome as their defense in the case. Amero listened as Stanley’s son and daughter testified to the physical and verbal abuse the family suffered at the hands of the father. They said they witnessed John Stanley physically and verbally abuse Wanda Stanley.
“The judge has agreed that the testimony of Monique, John [Jr.] and Tammy, are coming into the case, and acts against them and acts against Wanda,” said Henry County Public Defender Gary Bowman, who heads Wanda Stanley’s defense team. “The court concluded, today, [there’s] prima facie evidence that there’s a Battered Woman Syndrome. All that does is allow the acts against third parties to be presented to the jury.”
An expert witness, Dr. Richard Elliott, testifying for the prosecution team, which includes assistant district attorneys, Jim Wright and Sandra Rivers, said some of Wanda Stanley’s testimony was corroborated in the autopsy results, citing cocaine found in John Stanley’s body, and also, his pants zipper was down. Wanda Stanley had told police her husband was attempting to rape her.
“The reason the women feel that they can’t leave is because there are no options,” said Elliott. Women may feel threatened, while at work, by the batterer, or they may feel they cannot go to a woman’s shelter, because once they return home, they will be beaten, according to Elliott.