A 79-year-old grandmother who used a cane to walk to her seat in the courtroom Tuesday was painted by prosecutors as so consumed by rage last year that she shot her ex-boyfriend four times in the head.
Lena Sims Driskell, wearing brown curls and costume jewelry in court, is charged with murdering her former beau, 85-year-old Herman Winslow, after their yearlong romance ended.
“She had been dismissed,” Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis said in opening statements. “She didn’t appreciate it. And her revenge was four to the head.”
Willis told jurors the couple’s relationship was no different from any other and warned them not to excuse her actions out of sympathy: “Do not let her off the hook because she reached the age of 78.”
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. Driskell is also charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The defense planned to give its opening statement Thursday.
Murder in assisted-living home
According to prosecutors, Driskell had a key to Winslow’s apartment at Hightower Manor, the assisted living home where they both lived. Late on June 10, 2005, she let herself into his apartment, but he did not want her company, Willis said.
Winslow called a security guard and waited on a couch in the lobby of the building while the guard argued with Driskell. Thinking she had finally calmed Driskell down, the guard attempted to lead her back to her upstairs apartment, Willis told jurors.
Prosecutors said that’s when Driskell drew the .22-caliber pistol she had hidden behind her back, came within inches of Winslow, who was wearing boxer shorts and a T-shirt, and fired, killing him.
When police arrived, Driskell was brandishing the antique handgun, wildly proclaiming, “I did it and I’d do it again.” Police said she waved the weapon at the officers before she was arrested.
Defense attorneys have argued that Driskell was denied her constitutional right to trial by a jury of her peers because legal age for exemption as a juror in Georgia is 70. No juror in the pool was older than 60.