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Zimmerman case judge will rule later in unrelated ‘stand your ground’ case

By Rene Stutzman, The Orlando Sentinel –

SANFORD, Fla. — The judge in the George Zimmerman case won’t make a ruling for more than a week in an unrelated “stand your ground” murder case involving an Oviedo, Fla., woman who says she shot her estranged husband while he was raping her.

Anita Smithey, 43, is charged with second-degree murder for killing Robert Cline III in her home on May 4, 2010.

“If someone is not safe in their own home, if someone is not safe from being raped and brutalized, ‘stand your ground’ does not exist in this state,” defense attorney Rick Jancha said during closing argument Friday.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. on Friday listened to a third day of evidence in the Smithey case, much of it sexually graphic and violent. He must decide whether she qualifies for immunity because she had a “reasonable fear” of imminent death or great bodily injury.

Smithey was home alone when Cline, whom she’d left three months earlier, walked in about midnight, she said.

They each had a drink of tequila then had consensual sex in the bedroom, she testified. She then showered and expected him to leave, but he pulled her back onto the bed, she said, put a knife to her throat and sexually battered her.

She said he also punched her, chipping a tooth, and flicked the knife across her cheek, nicking it, and dragged it across her throat.

State Attorney Stacey Salmons put forth her own theory of what happened that night, although she had little evidence other than Smithey’s confused, contradictory statements.

There was no rape, Salmons said, just a husband and wife with a history of rough sex and a wife who grew angry when Cline wanted more and would not go home.

“He must be the most considerate rapist that ever there was,” she said, a reference to Cline going to the bathroom for lubricant after Smithey said she complained about pain.

Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, has said he’ll also ask for a “stand your ground” hearing, although it’s not clear when. Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old from Miami Gardens, Fla., on a Sanford, Fla., sidewalk Feb. 26.

Zimmerman also says he acted in self-defense. He is charged with second-degree murder and is free on $1 million bail.

On Friday morning, prosecutors in the Smithey case played an hour-and-a-half video statement she gave Oviedo police. During it, Smithey gives a jumbled, vacillating account of what happened.

At first, she said she was unsure how she got a knife wound to her side. But later, after detectives repeatedly accused her of stabbing herself, she admitted she picked up the knife after she’d shot Cline.

“I just know I freaked out, and I picked it up and stabbed myself,” she said.

Jancha said that statement wasn’t true, just an example of a tired, overwhelmed suspect who gave in “after continued harassment” by interrogators.

She also apologized during the interrogation.

“As crazy as it is, I miss him and love him,” she said.

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