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NEWBURY PARK : Woman on Trial in Assault on Husband

A Newbury Park woman yelled, “I hope you die!” moments before ramming the back of the jacked-up car her estranged husband was working underneath, a prosecutor told a jury Wednesday as the defendant’s assault trial opened.

But a defense attorney said 44-year-old Marcia Burns was only trying to park her Audi 5000 behind the jacked-up vehicle when the crash occurred Sept. 23 in Newbury Park.

“It is going to be proven, ladies and gentlemen, that (Burns’) vehicle moved and touched at a very slow rate of speed the car under which Mr. Burns was working,” Assistant Public Defender Jean Farley said in her opening statement in Ventura County Superior Court.

Prosecutors originally charged the woman with attempted murder, alleging that she was upset after her 41-year-old husband filed for divorce.

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But the charge was reduced to assault with a deadly weapon in November, after the husband recanted part of his story. Jimmy Burns testified during a preliminary hearing that his wife could not have seen him underneath the jacked-up car and said her Audi had a mechanical problem that occasionally caused it to surge forward.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Tom Connors told the jury that the husband changed his story because he does not want his wife prosecuted.

But, Connors added, “that is not his decision to make.”

After the wreck, a witness approached the defendant and told her that she had injured her husband, Connors said. “And she said, ‘Good! Maybe he will stop bothering me now,’ ” Connors told jurors.

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But Farley said Marcia Burns had been a victim of mental and physical abuse during the 18 months the couple was married prior to the incident. In addition to being a mechanic, Jimmy Burns is a karate brown belt and instructor, Farley said.


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