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Defense Rests; Closing Arguments In Murder-For-Hire Trial To Begin Monday

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The woman who claims years of abuse drove her to hire a hitman to murder her husband continues her fight to avoid jail time.

Derek Valcourt has more on her defense.

Prosecutors are trying to portray Karla Porter as a cold and calculating killer. But defense attorneys say she is the victim of horrendous abuse. And Friday, they called psychologists to talk about it.

Karla Porter says after years of physical and verbal abuse from her husband, Ray, she felt she had to hire a hitman to kill him. And in March 2010, that’s what she did.

With help from some of her family members, she arranged for hitman Walter Bishop to shoot her husband in the head at the Hess gas station the couple owned together.

She frantically called 911 and said he was shot by a robber.

911 Operator: “Do you know the person?”

Karla Porter: “No. I’ve never seen him before. He was black and he just came in the side door. I went out and he came in.”

But under pressure during a police interrogation, she finally confessed.

Detectives: “Are you understanding what we’re saying to you?”

Karla Porter: “I think so.”

Detectives: “We know. We’re not stupid.”

Karla Porter: “Everybody told you how wonderful of a man he was. I didn’t want you to know that he did hit me and stuff sometimes.”

Karla Porter: “I just wanted someone just to hit him for me.  I didn’t want any of this to happen. I didn’t.”

The demeaning abuse she described to jurors was much more severe than she originally told police.

Defense psychologists took the stand to say Karla had severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a condition called “battered spouse syndrome.” And that her repeated attempts over several years to find someone to kill her husband was her way of coping with the stress of abuse.

The defense has rested. Closing arguments in the case are set to begin Monday. The jury could be deliberating by Monday afternoon.

Karla Porter faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.

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