Judge frees Maine woman who killed abusive husband

Posted April 17, 2009, at 1:19 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A 50-year-old Portland woman who killed her abusive husband with a butcher knife has been sentenced to the seven months she already spent in jail.

Laureen Rugen, who was free on bail, left the courthouse a free woman after Friday’s sentencing. She was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty in February to manslaughter.

The judge agreed with prosecution and defense lawyers that Rugen suffered two decades of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of her 61-year-old husband, Christian Rugen.

Rugen stabbed her husband more than 25 times on April 8, 2008.

Prosecutor Lisa Marchese said the case involved a unique set of circumstances and does not signal that it’s OK to kill an abusive spouse.

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