NEWBURY PARK : Woman Sentenced in Hit-and-Run

A Ventura County judge Wednesday meted out a five-month jail sentence to a Newbury Park woman convicted of hit-and-run after ramming a jacked-up car that her estranged husband was working underneath.

But Superior Court Judge Joe Hadden ruled that Marcia Burns could serve her time in a county-run, work furlough program--instead of jail--if she finds a job before March 29, when she is scheduled to begin serving her sentence.

Burns seemed visibly shaken as she answered questions from the judge about the sentence. Her voice was barely audible.

In January, a Ventura County jury acquitted her of assault with a deadly weapon but convicted the woman of hit-and-run for leaving the scene of the Sept. 23 incident.

Prosecutors originally charged Burns with attempted murder, but reduced it to the assault charge after her husband, Jimmy Lee Burns, recanted part of his story. The husband testified that his wife could not have seen him under the car.

The defense portrayed Burns as a victim of domestic violence, and Jimmy Lee Burns testified that he once struck his wife.

But Hadden, who also placed Burns on probation for 36 months, called the defendant's actions "very serious conduct" and said "there should be serious consequences."

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