Laura Rogers killed her husband in April, shooting him as he slept and claiming it was a suicide. But when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday, 198 days after her arrest, an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge set her free.
Her husband, Walter Rogers, 43, had raped and impregnated her teenage daughter, a child from a previous marriage, both sides said in court. And the day before Laura Rogers leveled a shotgun at her husband's head, she watched a videotape he had made of the sex acts.
Judge Paul A. Hackner, who watched the tape in his chambers yesterday, called the slain man "a horrible human being" and effectively ordered that Laura Rogers, 36, be freed from jail. Although the abuse of her daughter was discussed at length during the proceeding, Hackner said a psychiatrist's diagnosis that Laura Rogers suffered from battered spouse syndrome was the more significant factor in his decision.
He sentenced her to 10 years in prison, then suspended all but the time she had served, telling her, "You'll be released sometime this afternoon."