Trial Begins For Woman Accused Of Murdering Husband With Hot Oil

HANCOCK COUNTY (WLOX) -- Testimony began Tuesday in the murder trial of a Diamondhead woman accused of killing her husband by pouring boiling oil on him as he slept. Edna Mae Sanders is charged with murdering Sherman Sanders in July 2006.

The state's first witness was Brandon Hendry, a former Hancock County Sheriff's Deputy, who responded to the 911 call that night. Hendry testified that the call came from a neighbor who told dispatchers there was a man in his driveway blowing his car horn and crying for help.

Hendry told the jury when he arrived, Sherman Sanders was standing next to his car, wearing short pants and no shirt. Hendry said he could see skin burned off Sanders' body and the smell of burned flesh was making him nauseous.

Hendry testified that Sanders told him he awoke to a burning sensation on his face and didn't know why his wife had poured boiling oil on him. Sherman Sanders was coherent and able to walk back into the house on his own, according to the deputy.

When they went back into the house, Hendry says he saw a black pot on an end table in the living room next to the sofa, just as the victim had described.

In opening arguments, Assistant District Attorney Jon Gargiulo told the jury the evidence will show that Sherman Sanders was sound asleep at 2 a.m when his wife Edna Mae poured boiling oil on him.

Sherman Sanders suffered second and third degree burns, which the state says lead to his death.

Edna Mae Sanders' defense attorney, Brian Alexander, cautioned the jury that they were not there to determine how painful Sherman Sanders death was, but whether it was justified. He didn't elaborate, but insinuated Mrs. Sanders had been abused. He told the jury, Mrs. Sanders didn't do anything any one of them wouldn't do.

The defense objected to two photos entered into evidence which showed Sherman Sanders' injuries, calling them prejudicial and inflammatory. Judge Steve Simpson overruled and allowed the photos into evidence.

But in a second objection, the defense attorney argued against allowing the state to use poster-sized photos of Sherman Sanders. Attorney Alexander argued the oversized images made them more inflammatory for the jury.

Judge Simpson reached a compromise and allowed smaller photos to be shown to the jury.