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'Extreme emotional distress' not a factor in Cottonwood Heights homicide

By Emiley Morgan | Posted - Jan 11th, 2013 @ 6:02pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — A jury on Friday convicted a Cottonwood Heights man of murdering his wife in 2009.

Dennis Wayne Lambdin, 64, was convicted of murder, a first-degree felony, for the brutal death of his wife, Touch Choun, 41. The jury deliberated for more than six hours Thursday and Friday before deciding that Lambdin was guilty and had not been experiencing "extreme emotional distress," as his defense attorneys had argued.

Choun was found dead in the kitchen of the couple's duplex near 7300 South and 2200 East on Aug. 17, 2009. She had been stabbed 19 times and bludgeoned with a ceramic ball. It was later determined that she had died of shock, most likely caused by a loss of blood.

Police were called to the home by someone on the East Coast who reported that Lambdin had sent an e-mail saying he had killed his wife and was planning to kill himself. Lambdin confessed to the killing multiple times.

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Defense attorneys argued that the man acted the way he did because of extreme emotional distress caused by Choun's request for a divorce. They said Choun was a drinker who gambled, cheated on her husband and told him she was pregnant in the weeks before asking for a divorce, causing him to finally lose control.

They argued that Lambdin's emotional state made the killing a manslaughter, but the jury disagreed.

Prosecutors said Lambdin lost his temper when Choun defied his will, wanted to retaliate and planned to kill her. They pointed to emails Lambdin sent hours before he murdered his wife in which he talked about killing her and said he was "glad I did it."

Sentencing in the case is set for March 4.


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