'til Death Do Us Part

When a woman kills an abusive partner, is it an act of revenge or of self defense? A growing clemency movement argues for a new legal standard.

THE LAW HAS ALWAYS MADE ROOM FOR KILLERS. SOLDIERS KILL THE nation's enemies, executioners kill its killers, police officers under fire may fire back. Even a murder is measured in degrees, depending on the mind of the criminal and the character of the crime. And sometime this spring, in a triumph of pity over punishment, the law may just find room for Rita Collins.

"They all cried, didn't they? But not me," she starts out, to distinguish herself from her fellow inmates in a Florida prison, who also have stories to tell. "No one will help me. No one will write...

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