California housewife convicted of therapist husband’s slaying
MARTINEZ, Calif. – A suburban housewife was convicted Friday of stabbing to death her millionaire psychotherapist husband, whom she had met as a 14-year-old girl in treatment.Susan Polk’s second-degree murder conviction ended a circus-like trial in which Polk, acting as her own attorney, discussed her psychic powers and cross-examined two of her sons.Polk, 48, wept lightly before the jury entered the courtroom to deliver the verdict. After the jury left, Polk told Judge Laurel Brady that the case against her was built on “fabrication and suppression of the evidence by county officials.”The jury deliberated for four days before convicting Polk in the 2002 stabbing of Felix Polk, 70, at their home near San Francisco. She faces a mandatory 15 years to life in prison at sentencing, set for July 14.Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, arguing that Polk plotted to kill her husband so she could get his multimillion-dollar estate.Polk contended her husband had attacked her with a kitchen knife and she stabbed him in self-defense following years of abuse.After a 14-week trial, jurors decided that the killing was not premeditated, but they had a hard time believing Polk.”We didn’t think Susan was credible,” said jury foreman Lisa Cristwell. Juror Kathy Sommese said Polk was “delusional.”While on the stand, Polk discussed secret government experiments, psychic powers and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, claiming she could have thwarted the World Trade Center attacks if her husband had not prevented her from alerting authorities.Scores of observers came to the courthouse in this San Francisco suburb to hear Polk’s sensational stories in a trial marked by familial dysfunction. Animated and often angry, she talked over the judge, insulted the prosecutor and continually called for a mistrial.In perhaps the trial’s most memorable moment, Polk’s son Adam called his mother “bonkers” and “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” on the witness stand. The judge had to hold back laughter.Polk testified to beatings and abuse by her husband, who she said kept her isolated and viewed sex as “essentially rape.”Prosecutor Paul Sequeira disputed Susan Polk’s claim that her husband attacked her, arguing that she had no defensive wounds. He described Polk as a manipulative liar who turned on anyone who did not agree with her version of reality.During her closing argument, Polk said she was being railroaded because people in power thought she was delusional. “Am I on trial for saying I predicted the 9-11 terror attacks or am I on trial for murder?” she asked the jury.A judge previously ruled she was competent to stand trial.
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