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Defense Asks to Exclude Believers in 'Blood Atonement' from Jury

Defense Asks to Exclude Believers in 'Blood Atonement' from Jury

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Attorneys for a woman accused in the killing of her ex-husband have filed a motion requesting that believers in "blood atonement" be excluded from the jury pool.

The motion is one of 48 filed by the defense for Tamara Rhinehart, who is charged with aggravated murder in the July 2003 shooting death of Michael Boudrero.

Blood atonement, a concept some historians say is rooted in early Mormon teachings, is a belief that shedding the blood of a guilty person is the only proper penance for crimes like murder.

The other motions include a request that Rhinehart not be shackled during the trial, another asking that the death penalty be declared unconstitutional, and two that petition the court to exclude blood spatter evidence and photographs of the victim.

Her trial is tentatively scheduled for the end of January and all February.

In addition to the capital murder charge, Rhinehart faces one felony count of forgery and four felony counts of communications fraud, as well as a burglary charge in a separate case.

The 47-year-old Boudrero was shot in the chest and back with a pistol by Craig Duncan Nicholls, who lured him to a North Logan construction site with a promise of work. Nicholls was Rhinehart's boyfriend at the time.

Nicholls, 40, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in November, 2003, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

However, he has since asked to withdraw the agreement, claiming he was coerced into signing it.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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