A Delta woman who says she killed her husband because he was beating her is expected to strike a plea deal with prosecutors.
Carole Elizabeth Alden is scheduled to change her plea on Wednesday in 4th District Court in Fillmore, clerks said.
|Deseret Morning News graphic Letters to Fillmore judge supporting Carole Alden|
Alden is charged with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and desecration of a body, a third-degree felony. Friends of Alden have rallied to her defense, flooding the judge's mailbox with notes of support. Even employees in the court and the Millard County Jail speak highly of her.
"This letter is in support of leniency for Carole Sessions," wrote the Rev. Stanley DeLong of the Delta Community Presbyterian Church. He performed the marriage of Alden to her husband, Martin Sessions.
"Marty, her husband, frequently threatened to kill Carole and her children, describing in graphic detail how he would do it," wrote Millard County Jail volunteer chaplain Sylvia Huntsman, who also serves on the area's domestic violence commission.
"She is HONEST and TRUSTWORTHY!!! NOT A MURDERER!!!!!!!!!," wrote friend Angela Western. "And may shame come upon those who have taken it upon themselves to deem themselves worthy of judging her in this manor (sic), they too shall pay the wages of sin in GODS eyes and what a heavy price they will pay!!!!"
"She has paid a heartbreaking price for her act of desperation brought on by chronic, intense stress and abuse," wrote friends Rebecca Heal, Kristen Merrill and Michelle Nunley, members of the performing group known as the Saliva Sisters.
"Carole still has a vibrant career awaiting her, a history of success, and the ability to make a positive contribution to society," wrote friend Joy Emory.
Alden, 37, is a well-known artist in her community, known for her fanciful works and sculptures of larger-than-life frogs. Her work has been featured in galleries and at the Utah Arts Festival.
Authorities say Alden admitted she shot Sessions as he raised his hand to strike her in their Delta mobile home last year. Her attorney planned a defense based on "battered spouse" syndrome, detailing years of abuse at the hands of Sessions.
In a videotaped interview with Millard County Sheriff's deputies played during Alden's preliminary hearing in January, she said Sessions had gone out drinking on the night of July 28. He returned home in a drunken rage, Alden claimed, punching walls and throwing things.
Deputies said she had bought a .38 Special revolver from a pawn shop that morning. She was hiding in the laundry room when Sessions confronted her. She shot him and he stumbled back, then fell forward on his face. The air conditioning was blowing his shirt, she said, and she thought he was still breathing.
It was then, she told deputies, she placed a pillow over his head and shot him again. Alden then called her daughter, who lives in Fillmore.
"It's over and I'm OK," Alden reportedly said.
In the back yard, deputies said Alden dug a grave. Her husband was too big for her to move, so she tied a rope around his waist and hauled him out of the mobile home with her Jeep. She called a friend and told him what she had done. He told her to call 911. She did, but her friend had already called police.
Friends hope that Alden's penitence is enough to persuade the judge to release her.
"I have become convinced that Carole has taken possession of, i.e., acknowledged the mistakes of the past," the Rev. DeLong wrote to the judge. "I would hope that you would find further punitive action of very limited effectiveness in her situation."
She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 6 in a hearing expected to last two days.