Jury acquits widow in clubbing death of husband

SAN FERNANDO, Calif. - A woman accused of beating her husband to death with a baseball bat to collect $400,000 in insurance was acquitted of murder Monday.

Jeanie Adair, 39, hugged defense attorney Richard Plotin and burst into tears when the verdict of the Los Angeles County Superior Court jury was read.

Ms. Adair was arrested two years after the Nov. 5, 1996, death of her husband and went on trial Sept. 28 on a charge of murder with special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain. The case went to the jury Thursday afternoon.

Authorities alleged she staged a crime scene to back her story that a robber forced his way into her home, bound and beat her and looted the Sylmar condominium for two hours before killing Adair when he returned home for lunch.

Deputy District Attorney Marsh Goldstein told jurors during closing statements that Ms. Adair gave differing accounts to friends and police, and the home showed little evidence of ransacking, with money left out in plain view.

The prosecution also noted that Ms. Adair made three telephone calls during the time she supposedly was hog-tied and gagged.

The defense contended that Ms. Adair did not make the calls, but secretaries at her husband's office and the office of Ms. Adair's former lover, Encino physician Michael Shapiro, testified that they took calls from her.

The defense contended the killer was someone hired by Shapiro's jealous then-wife to beat Ms. Adair, but never called the former wife to testify.


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