SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The Illinois woman convicted of killing her boyfriend with a gun shot to the back of the head in April, 2010 is asking for a new trial on the basis of an inadequate defense.
Tammy Cole was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found her guilty of first degree intentional homicide in March, 2011.
Prosecutors argued she shot her boyfriend, Vance Evens, after they'd argued and he admitted he was cheating on her with another woman.
Cole maintains the pair made up after that argument and testified during her five-day trial that Evans had been drinking heavily that night, which led her to attempt to hide a gun which was sitting out in the room where the pair were conversing.
Cole said as she was attempting to leave the room with the gun Evans pulled her in for a hug and the firearm discharged while the two were embracing with Cole holding the gun behind her boyfriend's head.
She stuck to her story during Tuesday's hearing in Monroe County, in which her appeals attorney argued Cole's previous defense team had dropped the ball on several issues.
Most notably, Cole's former attorneys had told the jury she consumed "a couple" beers the night of the shooting.
But Cole, again taking the stand Tuesday, now puts that number at closer to four or five.
Had her defense team proven Cole was drunk, she could have been facing charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a firearm rather than first degree intentional homicide.
"Did your attorneys ever ask you if you were drunk or intoxicated during those evening hours?" asked appeals lawyer James Rebholz.
"No," Cole replied.
"If they had asked you, would you have said you had "a couple of beers" or said you were drunk?" Rebholz replied.
"I was drunk," said Cole.
But District Attorney Dan Cary seemed to indicate Cole was altering her story after months of thinking about it in prison.
"You didn't tell the jury you were drunk when this happened, did you?" Cary said.
"No," said Cole.
"In fact the first time you're saying you were drunk is today, right?" Cary pressed on.
"I said I was feeling (the alcohol)," Cole replied.
"But did you ever say you were drunk?" asked Cary
"No," Cole said.
Rebholz also said Cole's attorneys should have allowed her to speak with police.
He said Cole's refusal to do so made her look guilty and Cole said she would have been willing to interview with police if her lawyers had made the arrangements.
But one of Cole's two defense attorneys for the duration of the trial, Michael Rabbitt, said he did not want police questioning his client regarding what transpired after the shooting.
Cole kicked in a gas line in the residence's kitchen, saying she was distraught after the accidental shooting and wanted the house to burn down with both her and Evans inside.
When it did not, Cole left and drove back to Illinois.
"Filling the house with gas and fleeing to the state of Illinois was a matter I thought was kind of the 800 pound gorilla in the room," Rabbitt said Tuesday. "It was really my main concern.
Rabbitt also maintained he felt he gave his best effort in Cole's defense when questioned by Cary.
Judge Todd Ziegler has set a tentative date of February 22, 2013 for a decision on whether or not Cole will receive another trial.
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