Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Woman Arrested In Fatal Stabbing, Says Man Tried To Rape Her

Seattle PI

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A woman who said she fatally stabbed a man who tried to rape her in her apartment has been arrested for investigation of second-degree murder. Jeannette M. May, 48, of Spokane, remained in jail Monday with bail set at $200,000 following the death of Harold W. Smith, 62, of Spokane Valley.

[...] Valenzuela told police May said Smith drove her home, where they drank more beer and she defended herself with a knife when Smith tried to rape her.

[...] A detective wrote that when May was taken to Deaconess Medical Center for a rape examination, he saw no red marks on her legs or other signs that she had been in a struggle.

I wonder if those who insist that all rape defendants must be viewed in the most positive light until the case is closed and who also say that if there were no witnesses we can never know whether or not the rape allegation is true or false, feel the same about this woman.

Will they shrug this off as unsolvable merely because there were no witnesses to the stabbing who can verify that she wasn't acting in self-defense?

I also wonder if they would agree that this is a sad situation for all involved as is said in most date rape cases when the alleged victim isn't being called the perpetrator of a cruel hoax.

This defendant has mental health issues, according to the story, and shouldn't have been consuming alcohol. That means there's a possibility that she could have believed she was acting in self defense when the man assumed their interaction was consensual.

If the man wasn't stabbed during a rape attempt then he is an innocent victim no matter what happens in the criminal justice system and no matter whether people second guess the wisdom of his choices in the hours before his death.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 5:37 PM   3 comments links to this post


At January 17, 2007 7:50 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Making the huge assumption that the news article is both accurate and complete. (I doubt that it is) the case definitely seems confusing. I have no idea if she was defending herself or not.

If i were a cop (and I'm not) I'd want to know why there were stab wounds in the back. Is there any physical evidence? Does the defendants account of events explain the physical evidence or lack thereof? Where did the knife come from? etc. etc. etc. Why was she driving around in the 'car of some guy I killed."

No matter what it's a pretty tragic story.
Either a person was sexually assaulted by a would be rapist and than had to defend herself with lethal force or a person was murdered. Sad either way.

At January 17, 2007 8:54 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


If he wasn't trying to rape her, it wouldn't automatically be murder. If she was in a state where she genuinely believed he was trying to rape her, what she did may not be considered murder.

Just as in rape cases with no outside witnesses, this case will come down to the evidence available. People recognize that in cases like this but many forget it when the man is charged with rape.

At January 18, 2007 8:41 AM, Anonymous joe said...

Good point, if she reasonably believed that she was defending herself than it wouldn't be murder.


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