Friday, May 18, 2012

James Herring pleads not guilty to fatally stabbing pregnant wife 'to escape marriage after just one week'

A newlywed accused of stabbing his pregnant wife to escape their marriage pleaded not guilty to two counts of capital murder Thursday after the woman and baby died in western Arkansas.

A judge explained the charges filed against James Herring, who is accused of stabbing his wife, Celestia Duffin, in the chest Tuesday with a knife, according to a detective, that read 'Freedom.'

Ms Duffin, who was nearly seven months pregnant, ran to a nearby police station and collapsed as blood soaked her blouse. Emergency responders rushed her to the hospital and delivered her son prematurely, but both MS Duffin and her baby died.

The judge on Thursday appointed a public defender to represent Herring, prosecutor Dan Shue said. Ray Spruell, the public defender, declined to comment, noting he hadn't yet received prosecutors' discovery files on the case.

Herring and Ms Duffin had been married for about a week, but Herring told investigators they were already talking about divorce, Fort Smith police spokesman Sgt. Daniel Grubbs said. Read More