CASSVILLE — A southwest Missouri woman convicted of second-degree murder committed suicide before she could be sentenced.
Barry County authorities say 47-year-old Adella Fae Patton, of Monett, died Friday after taking an overdose of medication at her home.
Patton was out on bond and awaiting sentencing after being found guilty Thursday in Barry County Court of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
The judge, J. Edward Sweeney, had allowed Patton's $250,000 bond to remain in place after the guilty verdict.
Coroner Jim Fohn confirmed Patton's death was a suicide and said the woman left behind notes indicating she could not serve time in prison.
During the trial, Patton testified that she shot and killed 45-year-old Kevin L. Madison of rural Exeter in self-defense in December 2005.
A Barry County sheriff's investigation found that Patton had called Madison and asked him to get his deer meat out of her freezer. The two had been in a relationship off and on but lived in separate homes near Exeter.
According to the investigation, Patton brought the meat out to Madison once he arrived at her place and an argument started in which Madison struck Patton a few times. Patton went back into her house and came back out with a gun, investigators said.
Patton testified that she fired a warning shot but that Madison then came after her, grabbed the gun and was shot in the head.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Patton could have stayed inside her home instead of confronting Madison with the gun.
Several witnesses for the state testified that Patton had been making threats toward Madison before the shooting and that she knew he had gone to Arkansas the previous day to meet a woman.
The Joplin Globe reported that Patton's attorneys presented evidence that Madison had been convicted earlier of domestic assault on Patton. However, they chose to argue self-defense instead of battered-woman-syndrome.