JL fatally shot her husband, LL, four times in their home after a day of alcohol consumption. JL had been planning a dangerous business trip, LL had over seventeen guns in the house. JL’s recollection was confused by a combination of alchohol intoxication and prescribed medication interactions.  She had not been informed of the medication interactions.  As best as June could remember she took one that she thought had a safety to ask LL as how to take the safety off.  The gun she took in fact had no safety.  JL recalls few details of the shooting, insisting that there was no threat of physical abuse, but recalling that she was walking toward LL with her gun and asking him about the safety when LL suddenly approached her with his arms waving. For JL, all went black until she recalls having some awareness after three shots were fired and LL lay dead at her feet. She recalls an overwhelming sense of rage and that she shot him through the hip, aiming at his genitals. JL summoned the police and in her intoxicated state made statements of braggadocio that LL deserved to be killed because, inter alia, he had ruined the lives of JL's three young daughters nearly forty years before.

The case of JL presented the difficulty of persuading a jury that JL had no general criminal intent at the time of the shooting. The goal of the defense was to show that JL likely suffered from a dissociative episode in which she became disinhibited. To this end, evidence concerning a neurophysiological deficit [mild frontal lobe damage], side effects of prescription medication interactions, and a variety of stressors was presented. Although the state pressed for a first-degree murder conviction, the jury returned with a verdict of second-degree murder.  In Iowa, this crime is defined as non-premeditated murder. 

This finding needs to be reconsidered, however, on a variety of grounds, including the defense argument that the trial court erred in finding that the crime of murder in the second degree is a general-intent rather than specific-intent crime.  This ruling was particularly damaging to the defense insofar as evidence of JL’s confusion (caused by medication interactions) and delirium that the defense introduced, via their forensic neuropsychiatry expert's testimony, as impairing JL's ability to form a specific intent was thereby rendered inapposite.  The prospect for JL on appeal depends on convincing the appellate court that the trial court erred in finding that the crime of murder in the second degree is a general-intent crime, that the court erred in refusing to allow the admission of a report of a psychologist who interviewed JL for the purposes of determining whether or not JL was a battered woman suffering from PTSD or a related disorder, and that the 'weight' of the evidence did not sufficiently support a verdict of guilt.