Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals
840 P.2d 1 (1992)
Donna Lee Bechtel (defendant) was the victim of consistent, and often brutal, physical and emotional abuse inflicted by her husband, Ken. One evening, an intoxicated Ken threw to the ground and began beating her head into the floor. Once Donna was able to break free, she grabbed a pistol and shot and killed Ken. Donna was charged with first-degree murder. The trial court conducted an in camera review of expert testimony on battered woman’s syndrome from prosecution and defense witnesses. Thereafter, the trial judge refused to allow testimony on the syndrome to be heard by the jury because (1) he found a general lack of acceptance of the theory in the psychological community and the fact that the syndrome was not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the psychiatric community; (2) the testimony did not appear to be necessary or helpful to the jury; and (3) the lapse of time between the incident and the psychological testing of Donna could be attributed to her manufacturing the defense. Despite her claim that she acted in self-defense, Donna was convicted of first-degree murder and she appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Johnson, J.)
Concurrence (Parker, J.)
Dissent (Lumpkin, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 203,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.