Elko woman who claimed self-defense innocent in ex’s killing

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Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 3:32 PM PDT
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ELKO, Nev. (AP) — An Elko County jury has acquitted a 24-year-old woman in the death of her ex-husband after she said she’d been the victim of ongoing abuse and was acting in self-defense when she stabbed him last summer.

Following a two-week trial, Brittany Sue Aleen Figiel of Elko was found not guilty of open murder in the June 2022 killing of 25-year-old Timothy Figiel.

Under the charge, the jury could have convicted her of murder in the first-degree, second-degree, manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. The jury deliberated for about two hours Friday evening before returning the not-guilty verdict, the Elko Daily Free Press reported this week.

Brittany Figiel said she’d been the victim of ongoing domestic violence and that her ex-husband had threatened to kill her during an assault a week before he attacked her again. She said she stabbed him in self-defense.

“Brittany was the real victim in this case,” her public defender Matthew Pennell told the jury during closing arguments. “When someone threatens to kill you, you should believe them.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Chad Thompson argued she had attacked her ex-husband with the intent to kill. He said the evidence belied her claim to police that she “held the knife out and he ran into it.”

Thompson said there would have been signs of defensive wounds if the 6-foot-2 man was charging the 5-foot-1 woman.

“His arms are longer than hers — they call that reach in boxing. He will get to her and grab her before that knife ever touches him. But he never touches her,” Thompson said.

“Premeditation, deliberation, execution,” he said.