Trial begins for Flagstaff woman accused of killing her boyfriend

Posted at 3:17 PM, Sep 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-17 18:17:03-04

A woman is on trial in the shooting death of the father of her two children at their Flagstaff home.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports 44-year-old Susan Joy Jacobson is charged in the February 2015 death of 54-year-old Marvin Neal James.

Defense attorney Bruce Griffen said Jacobson was trying to protect herself and the child she delivered shortly after her arrest.

Prosecutor Ammon Barker said Jacobson shot James while he slept because she wanted sole custody of her son and her unborn child.

"She knew that there was no way she was going to get full custody of those kids," Barker said, "at least, not as long as Marvin was alive."

The body was found wrapped in garbage bags, a blanket and tarp. Testimony from the Coconino County Medical Examiner is expected to show James was still breathing when he was wrapped up.

"She tried to move the body outside the window to dispose of it but she couldn't so she left the body there for days while she thought up her next move," Barker said.

Griffen said he planned to present evidence that his client was abused and tried to get help.

"The reality here is that Marvin James is not the victim," Griffen said. "The reality here is that Susan Jacobson is the victim.”

He said James threatened to kill Jacobson. She told authorities James kicked a pillow blocking her stomach.
"She makes a split-second decision," Griffen said.

"Her words were, `It was a race for the gun (in the dresser).’”

He said she tried to clean up so that her son would not see the body.

"A lot of this case is about why you can't leave sometimes even though you should have," Griffen said. "The great Catch-22, perhaps, of domestic violence is that you know you need to leave, but if you leave, you'll make it worse."

The trial is expected to last four weeks.