Wife Sentenced for Murder of Olympic Bronze Medalist

Jane Laut handed 2 consecutive 25-year-to-life terms
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 24, 2016 2:00 AM CDT
Wife Sentenced for Murder of Olympian Husband
In this March 30, 2016, file photo, Jane Laut is led out of the courtroom after being found guilty.   (Rob Varela/The Ventura County Star via AP, File)

The wife of a 1984 Olympic medalist was sentenced to a potential life sentence on Tuesday for shooting him in what she claimed was self-defense following years of abuse. Jane Laut, 59, was given two mandatory, consecutive prison terms of 25 years to life for first-degree murder and using a gun during the killing, the Ventura County Star reports. Laut was the high school sweetheart of David Laut, who won a bronze medal in the shot put at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. At the time of his death, the 52-year-old was athletic director at Hueneme High School in Oxnard, Calif., reports the AP. The Lauts were married for 29 years before he was shot to death in the yard of their Oxnard home shortly before midnight on Aug. 27, 2009.

Laut's defense argued that she had been beaten and raped during the marriage and that on the night of the killing, her husband slammed her head against the wall and threatened her and their 10-year-old son with a revolver. Laut testified that her husband was shot as the couple struggled for the gun. The prosecution said that Laut was shot six times, including in the back of the head, with a gun that had to be cocked before each shot. "That is extraordinarily strong evidence," Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Worley said last Friday, adding Laut's story was "clearly rejected" by the jury. The Star previously reported via court documents that Laut turned down a potential plea deal in January 2015 that would have resulted in a six-year sentence. Laut is appealing. (Read more Jane Laut stories.)

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