Thursday, January 9, 2014
Defense called Sandra Plunkett, the 40-year-old Holts Summit woman accused of killing her husband, to the stand today in court. She told her side of the story from the day of her husband's death and what led up to it.
Sandra Plunkett was arrested in January 2011 for the murder of her husband, Paul Plunkett, a former Jefferson City police officer.
Sandra Plunkett started her testimony today with her details of her marriage — a relationship she described as abusive. She said Paul Plunkett had jealously and control issues and he didn't want her around his friends or to attend police social functions.
"He didn't want me to talk to another guy," Plunkett said in court.
She added that he would repeatedly call her while she was at work.
The first incident of abuse, Sandra Plunkett said, was in 1999 after her male coworker stopped to say hello to her at a store. She said Paul become upset and punched her with a box flashlight.
The defense, led by Public Defender Justin Carver, called many of her former coworkers from St. Mary's Medical Center to testify to Sandra Plunkett's conversations with them about abuse. They testified that Sandra Plunkett confided in them about abuse, but never saw any physical signs.
She also testified that Paul Plunkett forced her to wear little clothes or be naked while he took photos of her for the Internet.
"He didn't give me much of a choice," Sandra Plunkett said.
Those photos were never entered as evidence or presented to the jury.
She continued to state that Paul Plunkett held a gun, one which he had next to his side most of the time, to her head three times in 2010.
Her drug abuse escalated, she said, in correlation with the physical abuse.
When asked why she didn't call the police, Sandra Plunkett said those she would have called would have been her husband's coworkers and friends. Sandra Plunkett also said none of the abuse took place in front of anyone else.
Sandra Plunkett confessed to investigators on Jan. 4, 2011, and led them to where she tossed the murder weapon — a .22 caliber rifle.
Chris Wilson, prosecuting attorney, said Sandra Plunkett's motivation for killing her husband was financial. Paul Plunkett had a $100,000 life insurance policy with United Healthcare. Sandra Plunkett pleaded not guilty and Carver is using battered spouse syndrome as her defense.
Sandra Plunkett stated in court today she was unaware of her husband's life insurance policy when she killed him.
In 2008, Sandra Plunkett stated she planned to attempt suicide as the way to end her relationship with Paul Plunkett. She also said she attempted suicide twice after his death.
Paul Plunkett's ex-wife, Toni Schmalzried, testified Paul Plunkett never abused her in any way during their 13-year marriage. Josh Plunkett, Paul Plunkett's son with Schmalzried, also said his father never abused him or his mother. While living with his father and Sandra Plunkett for three months, Josh Plunkett said he never witnessed his father abusing Sandra Plunkett.
For more details on the trial, check back online or pick up a Friday's edition of the Fulton Sun tomorrow.
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