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Jury finds Polk guilty of 2nd-degree murder

The jury in the Susan Polk trial found her guilty of second degree murder of her husband.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A suburban housewife was convicted Friday of stabbing to death her millionaire psychotherapist husband, whom she had met as a 14-year-old girl in treatment.

Susan Polk’s second-degree murder conviction ended a circus-like trial in which Polk, acting as her own attorney, discussed her psychic powers and cross-examined two of her sons.

Polk, 48, wept lightly before the jury entered the courtroom to deliver the verdict. After the jury left, Polk told Judge Laurel Brady that the case against her was built on “fabrication and suppression of the evidence by county officials.”

The jury deliberated for four days before convicting Polk in the 2002 stabbing of Felix Polk, 70, at their home near San Francisco. She faces a mandatory 15 years to life in prison at sentencing, set for July 14.

Juror: Polk was ‘delusional’
Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, arguing that Polk plotted to kill her husband so she could get his multimillion-dollar estate.

Polk contended her husband had attacked her with a kitchen knife and she stabbed him in self-defense following years of abuse.

After a 14-week trial, jurors decided that the killing was not premeditated, but they had a hard time believing Polk.

“We didn’t think Susan was credible,” said jury foreman Lisa Cristwell. Juror Kathy Sommese said Polk was “delusional.”

‘Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs’
While on the stand, Polk discussed secret government experiments, psychic powers and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, claiming she could have thwarted the World Trade Center attacks if her husband hadn’t prevented her from alerting authorities.

Scores of observers came to the courthouse in the San Francisco suburb to see Polk in action and hear sensational stories of illicit affairs, mind control and family dysfunction.

Polk was animated and often angry throughout the trial. She talked over the judge, insulted prosecutor Paul Sequeira and continually called for a mistrial.

In perhaps the trial's most memorable moment, Polk's son Adam called his mother “bonkers” and “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” on the witness stand, referring to the catchphrase used in advertisements for the children’s breakfast cereal. The judge had to hold back laughter.

Son: ‘No right’
Polk testified that she was able to grab a kitchen knife away from her husband when he attacked her and stabbed him in self-defense, though a pathologist testifying for her said he died of a heart attack. Sequeira argued she had no defensive wounds that would indicate a violent struggle.

Sequeira urged jurors to disregard the strange testimony and instead focus on what happened the night Felix Polk was killed. He argued Susan Polk was a manipulative liar who turned on anyone who didn’t agree with her version of reality.

“Susan had no right to take him from us,” Adam Polk said after the verdict.