Dominatrix Not Guilty In Bondage Death

Assistant Disrict Attorney Bob Nelson puts on the mask found in defendant Barbara Asher's makeshift "dungeon" to show the jury how Michael Lord may have died, in Dedham, Mass., Friday, Jan. 27, 2006. Asher is accused of failing to seek medical help for Lord who authorities believe suffered a fatal heart attack during a bondage session.
AP
A dominatrix was acquitted of manslaughter Monday in the death of a man who prosecutors say suffered a fatal heart attack while strapped to a replica of a medieval torture device.

The jury in Norfolk Superior Court deliberated for eight hours over two days before finding Barbara Asher, 56, not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and dismemberment.

During his closing argument, prosecutor Robert Nelson re-enacted the bondage session that allegedly killed Michael Lord, 53, of North Hampton, New Hampshire, in July 2000.

Donning a leather mask and speaking to the jury through the zippered mouth, he said Lord flailed about and died while strapped to the rack in a makeshift "dungeon" in Asher's Quincy, Massachusetts, condominium. Nelson said Asher did nothing to help him for fear authorities would find out about her business.

"She did nothing, nothing for five minutes," Nelson said, his voice muffled through the mask.

Then she summoned her boyfriend, who chopped up the body of the 275-pound retired telephone company worker before they dumped it behind a restaurant in Augusta, Maine, Nelson said. Police searched an Augusta landfill, but his remains have never been found.

Prosecutors said Asher confessed to police, but the alleged confession was not taped, and police investigators who testified said they did not save their notes from the interrogation.

Asher's lawyer, Stephanie Page, said there was also no DNA evidence recovered from the bathtub, and without a body there was no real evidence that Lord was even dead.

"No body. No blood. No DNA. No evidence," Page said in her closing argument.

Lord's sons were disappointed with the verdict.

"Here's a woman who confesses to this horrible crime — what she did to my father, who we love very much," said Timothy Lord.