- Associated Press - Monday, November 7, 2016

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A woman charged in the 2002 slaying and dismemberment of a man whose charred remains were found in barrels at a waste disposal site was convicted on Monday.

Jurors in Monroe County deliberated for a little less than two hours before convicting Stacy Britton, of Twentynine Palms, California, of murder, conspiracy, perjury and other counts in the death of Robert Roudebush. Britton, 48, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Her former husband, James Britton Jr., 35, pleaded guilty to murder last month and was sentenced to 15 to 30 years.

Authorities said they stabbed and beat Roudebush in Wilkes-Barre in July 2002 over a drug dispute, then dismembered and burned his body in Monroe County. The remains were found a year later.

The Brittons moved to California shortly after the killing, and authorities said Stacy Britton last year tried to pin the killing on James Briton because she was angry with his new wife. She first told San Bernardino County, California, sheriff’s deputies that he husband was responsible but later acknowledged helping plan the killing, authorities said.

According to her recorded statement, she told investigators her husband devised a scheme to stab Roudebush after she hit him on the head with a small sledgehammer while distracting him. She said they rehearsed the plot several times but she lost her nerve on the day of the killing and her husband then attacked Roudebush with a knife as she dropped the hammer and ran upstairs.

She told police the killing “elated” her husband and made him “amorous” so they had sex while he kept talking about the killing.

Defense attorney Brandon Reish said in closing arguments her admission to being present for the crime came only after she told detectives she wanted to lie and say she was there so they would have a better case against her ex-husband.

“That’s what they want. She gives them what they want,” Reish said, according to The Citizens’ Voice, of Wilkes-Barre. “I think that’s a good example of what an involuntary statement looks like. It doesn’t mean that they’re beating it out of her.”

Prosecutor Michael Mancuso, however, said Stacy Britton was the one who contacted police and her statement was fully voluntary. He said she “gave you how it happened, every step of the way.”

Mancuso said the Brittons had “gotten away with murder” but fell out after their divorce and text messages indicated they frequently held the murder over each other’s heads for leverage.

“This is a form of mutually assured destruction,” Mancuso said, describing threats to go to the police as the “nuclear option” during arguments. “She beat him to the launch.”

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