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JUDGE POSTPONES SENTENCING IN FATAL STABBING

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Sentencing has been delayed a week in 2nd District Court to allow attorneys for a Layton woman convicted of stabbing her boyfriend to death last fall to file motions to either set aside the jury's verdict or ask for a new trial.

Linda D. Peterson, 34, of 1178 W. 2525 North, was convicted March 16 of second-degree murder in the Sept. 2, 1989, stabbing death of Michel Bertrand, 33, in her home.She faces a term of five years to life in prison on the conviction and was scheduled for sentencing Tuesday by Judge Rodney S. Page.

Defense attorney John Caine, saying he was "absolutely appalled at the jury's verdict," asked for a delay to file a series of motions asking to set aside the verdict or for a new trial.

Failing that, Caine said he plans to file an appeal and ask for a writ of probable cause, which would allow Peterson to remain free until a higher court can rule on the appeal.

Caine said the Utah Court of Appeals just last week overturned a manslaughter conviction in a case similar to Peterson's. The decision is so recent he has not been able to obtain a copy of the ruling, Caine told the judge, asking for more time to study it.

County attorney Mel Wilson, who prosecuted the case, said he does not object to hearing motions but asked that Peterson be incarcerated. She has been convicted of a first-degree felony by a jury, Wilson said, and should be jailed or in prison until the motions are heard.

Page granted the request for a delay, scheduling oral arguments for 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 18. He also allowed Peterson to remain free on bond until the new hearing.

Peterson was convicted of the stabbing death of Bertrand after a three-day trial and seven hours of deliberation by the jury.

The defense maintained she stabbed him in self defense and that Bertrand, who had been living with Peterson on and off for several months, had beaten her several times on the night of the stabbing.

Prosecutors, however, said Bertrand was gathering his personal effects and leaving the home when Peterson, angered at being struck, picked up a kitchen knife and pursued him, stabbing him once in the middle of the chest.

The knife penetrated his sternum and heart, and cut his esophagus, according to medical testimony at the trial. Bertrand died at the scene.