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Woman Convicted Of Killing Second Husband

November 7, 1985

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (AP) _ A woman convicted of killing her first husband while he slept nine years ago has received a six-year prison term for killing her second husband in the same bedroom.

Georgia Marie Rucker, 51, of Rogersville, who claimed in both cases that she was a battered wife, was convicted Wednesday of voluntary manslaughter in the November 1984 shooting death of her second husband, Dearl Keith Rucker, 37.

Ms. Rucker was sentenced under guidelines used for first offenders because the first killing occurred so long ago and because prosecutors did not seek a stiffer sentence, court clerk Herbert Collins said.

Hamblen County Criminal Court Judge James E. Beckner gave Ms. Rucker the maximum possible sentence for the crime. As a repeat offender, she could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Ms. Rucker told the jury that she was a battered wife and had shot Rucker to prevent another beating. She testified she divorced him in 1979 but had continued to live with him.

In 1976, Ms. Rucker was placed on probation for an involuntary manslaughter conviction involving the 1975 shooting death of her first husband, Johnny W. Johnson, 54.

In that trial, Ms. Rucker also said she was a battered wife and that she shot her husband because she feared more beatings and because he had threatened to kill her.

Johnson was shot five times while he slept in his bed. Rucker died of a single gunshot wound in the neck, deputies said.

Ms. Rucker had been charged originally with first-degree murder in her first husband’s death, but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Testimony about the first killing was not allowed during the second trial, Collins said.

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