(Photo: Facebook/Anthony Utterback)
A Nebraskan woman who repeatedly cheated on her husband before and during their marriage, which eventually caused him to kill one of her lovers during a heated confrontation on Valentine's Day this year, celebrated Friday when a 12-person jury acquitted him of her lover's death.
"NOT GUILTY!!!!!!! NOT GUILTY!!!! Anthony Utterback is a free man!!!!!!!!!!! Praise the lord!!!!" wrote Ashley Killian, 23, about her 24-year-old husband, Anthony Utterback on her Facebook page Friday.
A jury of six men and six women had agonized over whether Utterback had acted in self-defense when he stabbed Killian's lover, Ryan P. O'Donnell, 23, the night he trailed her to O'Donnell's house, according to Omaha.com.
The jury initially voted 10-2 to convict Utterback of manslaughter, but the two holdouts were able to convince the entire group that the state did not prove Utterback's actions was anything beyond self-defense after nine hours of deliberations.
"We're very happy," Assistant Public Defender Jeanine Tlustos noted after representing Utterback with Brenda Leuck and Cindy Tate.
Despite Killian's serial cheating, the couple has remained married. Utterback reportedly pleaded with his wife to stop cheating on him but she continued her adulterous relationship up to the night her husband killed her lover.
That same night, Killian had even exchanged Valentine's gifts with her husband but then left him to go see O'Donnell at his house. Utterback, who had trailed her there, confronted his wife and her lover.
He and O'Donnell, who left behind a young daughter, engaged in a 30-second scuffle during which O'Donnell hit Utterback on the leg with a crow bar and Utterback retaliated by stabbing him once in the heart.
He then walked away from his wife and told her: "You might want to get him to the hospital."
Killian's mother, Tami Freer, said Utterback's acquittal was a relief and hoped that her daughter remained married to him even though she has posted pictures of a new boyfriend on Facebook.
"She's struggling with what happened," said Freer of her daughter. "She's obviously made some mistakes . . . And we're all very sympathetic to the loss of Ryan O'Donnell."
A 61-year-old juror disagreed with Killian's mother, however, and urged Utterback to move on with his life and forget about Killian.
"Put it this way — I hope (Utterback) moves on with his life," the juror said. "He's obviously in love with her. Hopefully he realizes he doesn't need that kind of drama."