A Vermont woman who sneaked up behind a police officer while under arrest and allegedly tried to slit his throat with a knife was found not guilty of attempted murder.
Jennifer Berube, 40, was acquitted of attempted second-degree murder and a lesser charge of attempted aggravated assault on Friday by a jury in Rutland, a city in western Vermont about 60 miles south of Burlington.
Berube and her former husband, John MacLean III, were arrested in December 2012 for trying to use a stolen credit card, the Times Argus newspaper reported.
While in police custody, Berube, who was homeless and hooked on heroin at the time, believed she heard MacLean trying to hang himself with his shoelaces in his holding cell, the Times Argus newspaper reported.
In a bid to help, she slipped a Leatherman tool out of a hidden jacket pocket and attacked Officer Damon Nguyen with it.
Surveillance footage from inside the station house showed Berube grabbing Nguyen by the neck with a 2-inch blade in her hand before getting overpowered by several other officers.
Nguyen suffered a cut near his jugular vein and was treated at a hospital.
He has since recovered and was back on the job.
It took the 12-man jury less than two hours to acquit Berube. During the trial, her defense attorneys argued she was merely trying to scare the officer, not kill him.
“She’s an RN. She knows how to use a knife. If she wanted to kill she would have plunged the knife right in,” attorney Daniel Sedon told the Times Argus after the verdict.
Prosecutors and other city officials, including the mayor, said they were disappointed in the verdict.
“I’m shocked and dismayed, quite frankly, not just by the verdict but by the disappointment I feel on behalf of members of the police department,” Mayor Christopher Louras told the newspaper.
“I’m not convinced justice was served in this case.”
Source: NY Daily News