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N.J. Woman Claims She Killed Politician Husband in Self Defense in Christmas Shooting; Prosecutor Says Victim Was ‘Naked and in Bed’ Watching TV


Marylue Wigglesworth appears in a mugshot

A New Jersey woman accused of gunning down her husband on Christmas night will be detained until her trial on murder charges, the Administrative Office of the Courts in New Jersey ruled on Tuesday.

Marylue Wigglesworth, 51, stands accused of murder for the Dec. 25, 2022 shooting death of 57-year-old David B. Wigglesworth, a Republican Party activist and onetime candidate for local office in the Town of Hempstead in the Garden State’s Atlantic County.

The defendant’s next scheduled court appearance is a pre-indictment conference before Superior Court Presiding Judge Bernard DeLury on Feb. 6, 2023, Law&Crime learned in an email from a spokesperson for the court system.

According to The Press of Atlantic City, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Wild based her decision to deny bail on the “severity” of the charges against the alleged murderer.

In New Jersey, there is no monetary bail system. For lesser criminal charges, there is a presumption in favor of pre-trial release. For more serious charges, like murder, the presumption is for detention.

Marylue Wigglesworth, by way of her attorneys, has not disputed that she shot and killed her husband. Rather, the defense says, she “feared for her life” and acted in self-defense. Attorneys Melissa Rosenblum and Jonathan Diego insist their client is being “overcharged.”

According to journalist Eric Conklin, the defendant was at times “emotional” but did not utter a word as the state and her defense attorneys offered differing versions of the violence on Christmas night.

According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by the paper, the defendant called police at 10:19 p.m. on the night in question and requested help because she and her husband were fighting.

According to a press release from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Township of Hamilton Police Department responded to a 911 call about an “injured male” just before 10:20 p.m.

Police arrived and found both of the Wigglesworths in their bedroom. A handgun was also present in the same room, the affidavit alleges, and the defendant admitted to shooting her husband.

Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy told the judge on Tuesday that David Wigglesworth was “naked and in bed with the TV on” when he was shot and killed by his wife.

The deceased was an active community member aside from politics. He served as the chair of the local planning board and was a volunteer with The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. His last ever Facebook post showed him enthused about grilling a steak.

Rosenblum, however, said her client Marylue Wigglseworth suffered abuse, including bruising and injuries to her arm and torso, from her husband that night – and said detectives have yet to share key information with the defense.

“What the state did not do and did not present, your honor, is that when she did talk to the police, she admitted that she shot him,” the attorney said, seeking to challenge a probable cause determination sustaining the murder charge. “She stated at least six times to the officers that there was a fight and an altercation. They never took pictures of her that night to see what her injuries or bruising were, or at least I have not received them, your honor.”

Rosenblum also argued, unsuccessfully, that Marylue Wigglesworth’s history of volunteering at local churches and her lack of criminal history suggest that she is not a danger to the community. She also reportedly said her client would not attempt any obstruction of justice were the defendant to be granted pre-trial release.

“The fact that she hasn’t been violent to the rest of the community is all well and good; however, she was extremely violent on this night,” Levy countered.

In the end, the judge sided with the state.

[image via Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office]

Editor’s note: this story has been amended post-publication to clarify the impact of New Jersey’s bail reform laws.

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