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Former Farmington Hills Teacher Denied New Trial in Hatchet Murder

Nancy Seaman, 60, was convicted in 2005 of killing her husband, Robert.

A federal appeals court panel has ruled that former Farmington Hills elementary school teacher Nancy Seaman will not get a new trial in the gruesome murder of her husband. 

The Oakland Press reports that while Seaman, 60, said she was battered by her husband, Bob, "battered spouse syndrome" is "not itself a defense under Michigan law." As a result, jurors who convicted her of first degree murder in 2005 could still have found her guilty, the appeals panel ruled. 

The case has traveled a winding legal path. While the jury convicted Seaman of first degree murder, the trial judge reduced the conviction to second degree murder. An appeals judge reinstated the jury's verdict, according to The Oakland Press story.

In 2010, a federal appeals court judge ordered a new trial for Seaman, which could have meant hours of additional work for Farmington Hills Police detectives, who would have had to find evidence and witnesses, Chief Chuck Nebus said at the time. Another appeal stopped the case in its tracks. 

Seaman has not denied that she killed her husband with an axe in May of 2004, but said that Bob Seaman, the owner of a batting cage business, abused her. He died of a fractured skull and multiple wounds, the Farmington Observer reported in 2004. The couple lived on Briarwood Court, in the 13 Mile and Halsted area; police found Bob's body wrapped in a tarp in the back of Nancy Seaman's Ford Explorer, which was parked in the garage. 

The case drew national attention and has been the subject of a book, Internal Combustion, by noted author Joyce Maynard, a 2007 episode of the CBS show 48 Hours, a 2012 episode of Discovery Channel's Sins & Secrets, and a 2012 episode of Snapped, an Oxygen network television series. 

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