ATLANTA — Georgia’s highest court on Monday upheld a ruling that a south Georgia woman convicted of murdering her ex-husband is entitled to a new trial.
A jury in 2011 found Marlina Hamilton guilty of murder in the October 2010 shooting death of Christopher Donaldson in Dougherty County. She was sentenced to life in prison.
But the trial judge last year granted Hamilton’s motion for a new trial, saying the jury’s guilty verdicts were “decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence.” In an opinion issued Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court said the trial court had the discretion to do that.
Witnesses at Hamilton’s trial testified that Donaldson had physically abused her numerous times over the years before, during and after their marriage. Hamilton’s defense attorney said at trial that she suffered from battered person syndrome and had shot Donaldson in self-defense.
Dougherty County District Attorney Gregory Edwards, whose office prosecuted the case, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on whether he’ll retry the case.