Filings about accused's alleged history of abuse prompt response from defense
By Jennifer Hewlett — [email protected]
New details have emerged in the killing of Lexington resident Umi Southworth, who was beaten to death last year.
Southworth, 44, was beaten with a large branch, and a belt was found around her neck, according to a document filed this week in Fayette Circuit Court. Previously, reports have said only that she was beaten with a piece of wood. But the branch and the belt contained no DNA belonging to her husband, Donald Southworth, who has been accused of her murder, according to the document filed by defense attorneys in the case.
Also, semen found in Umi Southworth's body did not belong to her husband, according to the document, which was filed by defense attorney Russell Baldani.
Umi Southworth was found beaten outside her Meadowthorpe Avenue home on June 9, 2010, and died the next day. The case made headlines because Lexington police did not realize for more than three hours after they got to the scene that she was alive.
The defense document was filed in response to prosecutors' filings asking whether evidence allegedly showing that Donald Southworth has a history of domestic violence and sexual perversions is admissible at trial. Graphic accounts of alleged such acts are detailed in a document filed last week by prosecutors.
In the notice, prosecutors say that Donald Southworth had a pattern of control over the women in his life, and that the loss of control of Umi Southworth was the motive for her murder.
Since Umi Southworth is not able to testify in court against her husband, “within the principles of fairness, we must learn from those who can,” the document says.
The prosecutors' document is based primarily on a meeting between Donald Southworth's first wife, Nirmayati Ching Lee Southworth, and Lexington Police Det. William Brislin and Assistant Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Kathy Phillips.
The defense document says that prosecutors are basing their arguments on events that allegedly occurred long ago and involved third parties. The defense questions whether they are relevant to the murder case now pending against Donald Southworth.
“After the commonwealth introduces evidence that defendant raped a dog, digitally penetrated a ‘baby in diapers,' and poisoned his mother, a murder conviction will be a foregone conclusion. While such allegations might make for sensational tabloid fodder, they have no place in a court of law,” according to the document filed by Baldani and defense attorneys Tucker Richardson and Michael Rowland.
Read the full story at The Herald Leader