Angelina Napolitano - Trial

Trial

The trial began on Monday, May 8, 1911, in Sault Ste. Marie, with Justice Byron Moffatt Britton presiding and Edmund Meredith as the crown attorney. When the court realized that Angelina didn’t have a lawyer, the trial was adjourned for a day to allow the court-appointed lawyer, Uriah McFadden, to prepare a case.

When the trial resumed on Tuesday, May 9, Meredith called nine witnesses to testify to Angelina’s guilt. McFadden called only Angelina herself, who didn’t speak English well. McFadden’s case rested on what was essentially the battered woman defence; he argued that Pietro’s abuse had forced a desperate Angelina to murder, and cited the November stabbing. Britton, however, ruled the incident inadmissible evidence, arguing that “if anybody injured six months ago could give that as justification or excuse for slaying a person, it would be anarchy complete.”

The jury returned a guilty verdict. The trial had lasted only three hours. Although the jury recommended clemency, Britton sentenced her to hang. The execution was scheduled for August 9, one month after Angelina’s due date.

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