Woman pleads guilty in husband's cooking oil death

Edna Mae Sanders

JACKSON – (AP) A Mississippi woman pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday in the death of her husband, who died in 2006 after being doused with hot cooking oil.

Hancock County Circuit Court Clerk Karen Ruhr said Edna Mae Sanders, 52, is set for sentencing April 15 in the county’s Circuit Court. Manslaughter in Mississippi carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison, though judges have discretion in sentencing and she’s likely to get credit for time served.

Edna Mae Sanders

Prosecutors said Sanders poured the oil on Sherman Sanders, 53, while he was asleep at their house in Diamondhead in south Mississippi on July 27, 2006. He died several days later.

Court records say Sherman Sanders told first responders that came to his house that his wife poured oil on him while he was asleep in bed.

She later testified that she threw the oil on him after he attacked her and threatened to kill her. She claimed he was an abusive husband and that she feared for the lives of her children and herself, according to the court record.

Edna Mae Sanders’ lawyer, Brian Alexander, said Tuesday that he couldn’t comment due to a gag order in the case.

The case has worked its way through the courts for years. Edna Mae Sanders was convicted of murder

in 2008 and sentenced to life in prison.

She appealed that decision, in part based on the argument that the judge should have allowed a jury instruction that said she was under “no duty to retreat” from an assault in her own home. The trial court judge had refused to allow the jury instruction because he said it was “inconsistent with the evidence,” according to court records.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals agreed with the Edna Mae Sanders’ argument that the instruction should have been allowed and overturned the conviction in 2011. She was released from prison last June when the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld that decision.

She had been free on bond but was taken into custody after Tuesday’s hearing.

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