When Sammy Stewart awoke, he told his wife to leave and referred to her by her maiden name, Rhonda K. Boyd. The two were separated at the time, and Sammy Stewart was seeing another woman, according to testimony at the previous trial.
"I knew what he meant," Rhonda Stewart testified in 2009. "He had often told me it would never be over until he said it was over."
Rhonda Stewart had been in a relationship with her husband since she was 14 years old, her lawyer said Thursday.
Rhonda Stewart, who had resolved to kill herself in front of her husband, went home from the hospital and retrieved a handgun, according the 2011 Supreme Court opinion. When she got back to the hospital, she and her husband had a brief tussle before she shot him in the head.
Plants said Thursday that defense experts would have testified that Stewart's husband repeatedly physically and sexually abused her during their marriage, and that she "lacked the capacity" to commit premeditated murder.
Stewart faces up to 10 to 40 years on the second-degree murder charge. The judge could choose to allow the woman to serve the sentence on home confinement, Plants said.
Several family members sat in the front row of the courtroom gallery Thursday behind Rhonda Stewart. Plants said that no one on Sammy Stewart's side of the family disagreed with the decision to plea.
Rhonda Stewart and her family would not comment after the hearing.
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.