DeKalb man's murder conviction reversed in wife's death

2:34 PM, Nov 25, 2013   |    comments
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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a DeKalb County man's malice murder conviction in his wife's death.

Dennis Ronald Allaben was found guilty in 2011 of the January 2010 strangulation death of Maureen Allaben, a set decorator for BET's "The Mo'Nique Show." He was sentenced to life in prison.

A jury convicted Allaben of several charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, battery and reckless conduct.

Monday, Georgia's high court overturned the malice murder conviction, saying that the verdicts are mutually exclusive "because reckless conduct requires the jury to find that a defendant acted with criminal negligence and did not intend to injure or kill a victim, while the other charges require the jury to find that he did intend to kill or injure the victim."

The state Supreme Court also remanded Allaben's case.

Prosecutors said that on Jan. 3, 2010, Allaben choked his wife to death, rolled her body in blankets bound with duct tape and placed the body in the bed of his pickup truck. He then drove his two young children to his brother's house in Chesterfield, Va., with Maureen Allaben's body still in the truck.

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Allaben reportedly told his sister-in-law that he tried to put his wife to sleep by placing a cloth soaked in ether over her mouth, but said the cloth went down his wife's throat and choked her. He also claimed he killed her after she videotaped him performing sex acts and gave the video to a party of gay men.

Verdicts are mutually exclusive when "a verdict on one count logically excludes a finding of guilty on the other," according to the 2003 Supreme Court decision in Jackson v. State.

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