A legal debate over whether one member of a same-sex couple has spousal privilege that would shield her from testifying against her partner is at the heart of a capital murder case in politically conservative Kentucky.
Geneva Case, 49, does not want to testify in a Louisville court against her partner, Bobbie Jo Clary, 37, who is accused of beating George Murphy, 64, to death with a hammer in 2011 and then stealing his van.
Prosecutors say Case must testify because of her value as a witness, since she heard Clary admit to the slaying and also saw blood on the interior of the victim’s van after the killing.
Clary says Murphy used a hammer to sexually assault her, and she defended herself by hitting him over the head.
Clary is also charged with tampering with evidence to cover up the crime. If convicted, Clary could face the death penalty.
Under Kentucky law, a person cannot be called to testify against his or her spouse. Most states have a similar type of law.