Woman found not guilty in husband's murder

WICHITA -- Jurors this afternoon found a Wichita woman not guilty of murder in the shooting death of her husband.

Melinda Hazelton had claimed she shot John Hazelton in self-defense after suffering years of abuse.

Defense lawyer Richard Ney presented evidence showing Melinda Hazelton had recently learned John Hazelton had also abused the couple's daughter. He knew his estranged wife was planning to report him to police, Ney said.

John Hazelton was killed with a gunshot to the face the morning of Nov. 13, 2009.

Melinda Hazelton testified he had come to her house to talk about her plans to go to police. She said John Hazelton tried to force her to take an overdose of prescription sedatives at gun point. But she was able to get the gun away, and she shot him.

"I didn't want to die," police said she told them.

Prosecutors had charged Hazelton with second-degree murder. The jury deliberated less than six hours before announcing their verdict to Sedgwick County District Judge David Kaufman.