Jury visits scene of shooting on first day — (Morning Journal)

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Morning Journal


November 01, 2002

NORWALK — The stress of a pending divorce and the disappointment of not being invited on an annual motorcycle trip may have been the final straw that caused Linda Connell to allegedly shoot her husband during an argument May 18, according to Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler’s opening statement in Connell’s aggravated murder trial

Apparently, Connell, 51, of Clarksfield Township, was told by a family friend that her husband, Alexander Connell, 52, not only hired a separate attorney to handle their divorce, but was also planning to go on a motorcycle trip without her, Leffler told the jury.

The jury was seated at noon yesterday and after lunch was taken to the scene of the shooting in the Connells’ home on SR 60, before opening statements began.

Connell is on trial for aggravated murder with a specification of using a gun, but her defense attorney George Evans said the shooting was an accident.

Evans told the jury that Connell knows she acted unlawfully by pulling the gun on her husband, however, she only did it with the intent to use it as ”an attention getter.”

Connell thought her husband would simply say, ”Put the gun down, baby,” said Evans, but instead charged her after she fired a warning shot, he said.

Connell has been full of remorse since it happened, he added.

Evans pointed out to the jury there is no motive to prove she intended to kill her husband. But Leffler told the jury her intention was to kill him because she was upset about the divorce.

Leffler told the jury that Connell target-practiced a day before the shooting and therefore her intention will be proven.

While telling the jury that Connell was obviously disturbed over the breakup of the couple’s marriage, Leffler added evidentiary items will prove his theory such as books she was reading about ”being dumped” and prescription medication she took to help her through her depression.

However, Evans disputed this, saying divorce was merely an option at the time and that people sometimes get back together after a breakup.

”There was no other man, no other woman, to anyone’s knowledge and there was no domestic violence in the home. They simply had grown apart,” said Evans.

The couple had been together a total of 22 years, Evans said, though they were only married for 11.

Today, the testimony for the prosecution begins with Jeff Polen, a Huron County corrections officer, who initially talked to Connell when she turned herself in at the Huron County Sheriff’s Office a few hours after the shooting. The second witness will be Huron County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Alberts who Connell first reportedly told about her husband’s death.