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Calif. Jury Acquits Widow of Murder

October 19, 1999

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (AP) _ A widow hugged her lawyer and burst into tears after being acquitted of charges that she beat her husband to death with a baseball bat to collect $400,000 in insurance money.

Jeanie Adair, 39, was found innocent Monday by a Superior Court jury that deliberated 12 hours.

``I still miss my husband,″ Adair said outside the courtroom. ``I don’t feel I can really celebrate. The people who did this to my husband are still out there, and not until they are behind bars and charged with his murder will I be happy.″

Margarita Ruffino-Sutcliffe, the mother of victim Robert Adair, called the trial a ``mockery of justice.″

``I know in my heart she killed my son,″ she said.

Ms. Adair was arrested two years after the Nov. 5, 1996 and charged with first-degree murder with special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain. If convicted, she would have faced a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.

Authorities alleged she staged a crime scene to back her story that a man posing as a gas company worker forced his way into her Sylmar condominium, bound and beat her and looted the home before killing Adair when he returned home for lunch.

The prosecution argued that Ms. Adair gave inconsistent accounts of the attack to friends and police, and that she made three telephone calls during the time she supposedly was gagged and hog-tied.

But a cable television company worker testified about seeing a man in an outdated gas company uniform at the Adair condominium complex the day of the killing.

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