Professor Birdsong’s Allocution Case # 3


Janet Mercereau, 40, is awaiting sentencing after having been found guilty by a jury of second degree murder of her husband Douglas Mercereau.

We will use this case to help you learn how to allocute.

Evidence at trial revealed that  Janet Mercereau had shot Douglas Mercereau, 38, a fire marshal, three times in the head as he slept in their bed on December 2, 2008.

Prosecutors argued that Janet had grown to hate her husband during their troubled, 12 year marriage in which the couple fought bitterly over her weight problem.  Janet  had weighed  only 105 pounds when they married but had ballooned up to 265 pounds at the time of the murder.  The couple had two children, both girls, aged 7 and 8.

Further evidence at trial revealed that Janet  had held her husband’s Fire Department issued Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol just inches from his face when she shot him.  Evidence also revealed that Janet had attempted to cover up the shooting by laundering her clothes and placing the gun through the family dishwasher three times.

Douglas Mercereau, a 12 year veteran of the Fire Department was considered a rising star in the department. He had recently been promoted to a supervisory position at the time he was killed.  In trial testimony police investigators said Janet burst into theatrical hysterics after placing the 911 call after shooting her husband.  The widow chugged whisky as she told emergency responders that she was shocked to find her husband’s blood- soaked body when she went to fetch clothes from her closet.

Janet did not take the witness stand in her own behalf, but had told investigators the night of the shooting that she never heard the shots because she used earplugs when she slept and had spent the night in the room of her kids.  The weeks that followed saw a series of bizarre antics from Janet, including tossing  her husband’s treadmill — and the bloodied mattress she had shared with him from her house.  She was also seen strutting down her driveway posing for news cameras as if she were a catwalk model.

Janet’s defense lawyer vowed to appeal the conviction.  He said his client was not guilty of the crime and attributed the killing to unidentified intruders.  There was no evidence of forced entry into the house the night of the shooting.

There is no death penalty for second degree murder.  Janet may be sentenced from twenty years to life.  She must spend twenty years in jail before she is eligible for parole.

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