LaPorte free on bond awaiting trial


(Published October. 21, 2006, 12:28 p.m.)

New trial scheduled for wife accused of killing husband

By Mike Heine

The Week

A woman who was granted a new trial after being convicted of killing her husband is free on bond.

Carole L. LaPorte posted $250,000 Tuesday and was released from the Walworth County Jail.

In the event the state Attorney General's Office decides not to appeal the overturned reckless homicide conviction, a new trial is slated for the woman who stabbed her husband in the heart in 2003.

LaPorte will tentatively go through a second trial starting Jan. 8. The trial is expected to last two weeks, less Martin Luther King Jr. Day when the courts will be closed.

A jury convicted LaPorte, 36, of Chicago, in April 2005 of first-degree reckless homicide and aggravated battery for stabbing her husband, Anthony, with a steak knife.

LaPorte testified that she stabbed her husband in self-defense when the two were involved in a domestic dispute following a night of drinking and partying. She said she grabbed the knife to scare her husband, but he lunged at her and he was accidentally stabbed.

Judge Michael Gibbs awarded Carol LaPorte a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel.

District Attorney Phil Koss has asked the Attorney General's Office to review the case and make a decision on whether or not it wants to appeal the overturned conviction.

"I have no idea what the Attorney General is going to do," he said. A decision is expected within the next few weeks.

If there is an appeal, the case will go before an appellate judge to decide if Gibbs was correct in overturning the conviction. If the Attorney General does not appeal, LaPorte will have the scheduled jury trial in circuit court.

Defense attorney Jerome Buting said new evidence will be presented at trial to prove the stabbing was accidental and in self-defense.

"Carol LaPorte was basically presented as a cardboard, two-dimensional cartoon figure," Buting said, referring to how she was portrayed at last year's trial. "The jury did not know anything about her except what was narrowly tailored (to them). You can expect that will change."

Affidavits supporting the motion for a new trial said Anthony had a history of violent behavior toward Carol.

A forensic pathologist is also expected to testify that the stab wound Anthony received could have been incidental in nature. The state relied heavily on the testimony of Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen, who testified that the wound was forcible and likely not an accident.





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