Conviction, life term in beating death overturned - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Conviction, life term in beating death overturned

By BRETT BARROUQUERE
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a Lexington man in the slaying of his estranged wife after concluding that prosecutors improperly used circumstantial evidence.

Justice Mary Noble wrote for the court that 52-year-old Donald Southworth should get a new trial in the 2010 death of Umi Southworth. Noble's decision centers on the admission of evidence that Southworth took a used condom and later used it to plant semen on his wife's body to stage a sexual assault.

Justices Will T. Scott and Bill Cunningham would have upheld the conviction, calling the evidence a unique "signature" of the crime that could be traced to Donald Southworth.

Umi Southworth was found hidden behind the couple's home, beaten with a belt wrapped around her neck.

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