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Woman Can’t Withdraw Plea In Husband’s Murder

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Rebecca Shimel (credit: Department of Corrections)

Rebecca Shimel (credit: Department of Corrections)

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BAY CITY (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan appeals court has reinstated the murder conviction of a Bay County woman who repeatedly shot her husband in the back in December, 2009.

A judge had allowed 48-year-old Rebecca Shimel to withdraw her guilty plea to second-degree murder, saying her lawyer was ineffective. But the appeals court overturned that decision in an opinion released Wednesday.

Shimel said her lawyer did a poor job by not fully exploring a battered-spouse defense and explaining the plea deal in 2011. But the appeals court says evidence of abuse was thin.

The court says Shimel probably wouldn’t have received a better outcome if she’d chosen not to plead and the case had gone to trial.

Shimel was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison; but, If convicted of first degree murder, she would have spent the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Autopsy results showed 48-year-old Rodney Shimel suffered nine entry wounds to the back and head.

Rebecca Shimel said she was “scared to death” of her husband.

“I relive it every time I close my eyes,” she told the court in 2011. “It won’t go away. I didn’t want to harm Rodney, I just wanted him to stop. I was trapped in a bad situation for 26 years. He came at me. I thought he was going to hurt me.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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