Wife Who Fought Kennesaw Man's Murder Conviction Dies

Anita McNeil had breast cancer.

Anita McNeil, who spent years fighting for her husband's freedom after he was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting a man at their Kennesaw home, died Saturday of breast cancer.

Her sister on Sunday confirmed her death to the Associated Press.

John McNeil, Anita McNeil's husband, is serving life in prison for aggravated assault and felony murder in the , the builder of his Kennesaw home.

Supporters, including Anita McNeil and the NAACP, said it was self-defense. Police said the same thing initially and cleared John McNeil of any charges. But nine months later, prosecutors charged him with murder, and a Cobb County jury convicted him and sentenced him to life in prison in 2006. 

The case sparked debate about Georgia's version of the so-called stand your ground law, the defense being used in Florida in the February 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Even as she fought breast cancer, Anita McNeil maintained that her hubsand was innocent and worked to secure his release. As recently as October, she joined the NAACP for a news conference shortly after Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens appealed a judge's ruling that John McNeil should have been released because of multiple errors at trial.

“I stand here today, because John is not a murderer,” Anita McNeil said during that press conference. “He is a homeowner. He is a homeowner that lost his right to protect his home, his child. He is an American who lost the right to protect himself on his own property.”


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