Watch CBS News

The Bugs Bunny Defense

The Bugs Bunny Defense
"48 Hours" Presents: The Bugs Bunny Defense 41:57

Produced by Josh Yager and Dena Goldstein

[This story originally aired on Oct. 31, 2015]

Seven years after she shot her husband in their suburban living room, Linda Duffey Gwozdz was in a Los Angeles County court denying, as strongly as she could, that she is a murderess.

"This was a horrible accident," she cried in court, with her late husband's relatives looking on. "I wish and pray constantly that I could be able to take away your pain, but I can't."

This case is not a whodunit; it's more of a why'd she do it? Linda admitted she shot her husband, Patrick Duffey, in 2007, but she said it was an awful, and unlikely, accident. She has had to convince authorities that fact can be stranger than fiction, because her legal defense has featured, among other things, a cast of cartoon characters.

Her lawyer used the words of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd to explain her actions as he insisted she is innocent.

Linda talked to police voluntarily and without a lawyer just hours after the shooting:

Linda Duffey to police: It was pointed down ... and the next think I know, his head was right there! ... he was just laying there!

Shaun McCarthy and Shannon Laren are veteran homicide detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for 13 years. Forgive the cliché, but they really did think they'd pretty much seen it all.

Then, on April 26, 2007, they got a call about a shooting at the Duffey's house in suburban Whittier:

Linda Duffey: My husband was gonna go shooting ... and I accidentally shot him. We need help.

911 Operator: OK, stay on the line with me ma'am...

The detectives found Patrick Duffey dead on the couch; his left hand was in his pocket.

"And his right knee was being supported by a pillow. Very comfortable, relaxed," Sgt. Laren told "48 Hours" correspondent Richard Schlesinger.

There was blood pooled on the floor and splattered on the wall.

"There was a pretty good sized blood puddle..." Laren said, pointing to the floor at the end of the couch where Patrick Duffey's head rested.

"Clearly he had a gunshot wound to the head," said Lt. McCarthy.

The couple's two teenage sons, Sean and Thomas, were at school, so Linda was the only surviving witness. Det. Laren had a funny feeling.

"It looked like he'd been sleeping on the couch," he said, "and somebody just walked up and shot him in his sleep."

"I was leaning ... that this was an accident," said McCarthy.

Detective McCarthy has been investigating homicide cases for about 13 years and knows how to spot even the tiniest clues. He saw very little that made him suspicious.

"Did you guys disagree frequently on cases?" Schlesinger asked the detectives.

"I disagree with all of my partners on every case," McCarthy replied.

"How does that work?" Schlesinger asked.

"I think we kind of wait until we have more information," said Laren.

"I wanted to hear her story," said McCarthy.

"She was very entertaining ... loved to tell stories," said Julie Prendergast, who has been listening to Linda's stories since they first became friends in a college music program in the 1980s.

"She said, 'Well, actually I'm from Ireland," Prendergast said. "And she started talking with what I thought was a pretty phony accent. ...That was my first indication that Linda was a little bit different."

Prendergast said Linda could be irreverent, even goofy.

"I would ... say, 'Linda ... I'm gonna tell you something and you're gonna want to laugh, but we're in class right now so don't laugh out loud.' And it would just pop out anyway," she said.

After they left school the two friends ended up working at the same place. And one day, Prendergast said, Linda called with some news.

"She said, 'I'm so excited. I'm getting married, and I'd like you to be in my wedding!'" she said.

Linda and Patrick Duffey on their wedding day
Linda and Patrick Duffey on their wedding day Pam Nylen

The groom was a man Linda had met four years earlier: Patrick Duffey, a radio engineer, gun enthusiast, and private pilot.

"She just said it was like her dream come true and she couldn't be happier," said Prendergast.

Patrick's sister, Katherine Hunt, said he and Linda were soul mates and playmates.

"They seemed happy as a family. ...They understand each other," she explained. "They were kidding with each other, joking with each other."

Linda Duffey to police: We're just always just joking around with each other and being silly and having a good time...

And it was that silliness that became a cornerstone of Linda's story when she explained to police what happened the day she killed her husband:

Linda Duffey to police: And I came into the family room and he was sitting on the sofa...

She said they had just come back from a doctor's appointment. Patrick had chronic circulation problems. Linda said he'd been planning to go to the shooting range. His .38, one of three revolvers he kept in the house, was nearby.

Linda Duffey to police: We keep it in this little locked box...

Linda told police she usually stayed away from the guns. But that day, she picked up the .38.

"And the story got stranger as it went on," said McCarthy.

Linda Duffey to police: We do this little silly thing. We always kind of relate little silly conversations to, like, cartoons that we've seen when we were younger and stuff. And he does this silly little Elmer Fudd voice: "No more buwwets."

"And she claims she said to him, 'No more buwwets?' in Elmer's Fudd's voice," McCarthy explained. "And she said his response was, 'No more buwwets.'"

Linda Duffey Gwozdz and the tale of Elmer Fudd 01:44

Linda said it was a game they played all the time. And when her husband said 'no more bullets' in his Elmer Fudd voice, she took it to mean the gun was empty; that it was safe to try something Patrick had taught her.

"She said that she then wanted to impress him by showing him she can shoot it cowboy style," said McCarthy.

It's called fan firing, and any fan of westerns knows it; you hold the trigger down and keep pulling back the hammer so the gun fires quickly.

Linda Duffey to police: He told me there was no bullets in the gun.

She said once she started fan firing, she couldn't stop in time to avoid hitting her husband, who leaned into the line of fire.

Linda Duffey to police [crying]: ...and the next thing I know he -- his head was right there.

"The statement about the fan firing, it just didn't sound right," said Laren.

But his partner, Lt. McCarthy, who had heard his share of crazy explanations from suspected killers, listened to that panicked 911 tape, listened to Linda's story and concluded the story was just wacky enough to be true.

"The overwhelming feeling that I got from her was she was odd at best and eccentric at worst," he said.

After the detectives interviewed Linda for an hour, they let her go home.

"When you left work that day did you have in your mind that she was a suspect?" Schlesinger asked McCarthy.

"No," he replied.

His gut told him Linda was innocent, but he'd need more. He'd need science.


When he first studied the scene where Linda Duffey killed her husband, Det. Shaun McCarthy was pretty sure it was an accident. He believed her story that she had reenacted their favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon and then fan fired the gun.

And when he talked to Linda later that day, she said nothing that made him doubt her:

Lt. McCarthy: Start with when you got up this morning

Linda Duffey: It is my fault.

Lt. McCarthy: No, it's not your fault.'s just that we need to understand...

Patrick Duffey
Patrick Duffey

Detectives Laren and McCarthy were beginning to understand more about what happened inside the Duffey home, especially after they talked to the medical examiner, who had just done an autopsy on Patrick Duffey.

"There was a second gunshot wound," said McCarthy.

Linda Duffey claimed this was an accident, but she had shot her husband in the head not once, but twice. Believe it or not, even seasoned investigators can miss that kind of clue at the crime scene.

"You could not see the second gunshot wound?" Schlesinger asked.

"Because dry blood and the amount of blood and coagulated blood ... we weren't privy to the second gunshot wound," said McCarthy.

"What did you make of that?" Schlesinger asked.

"Well, it's-- it certainly was a red flag," McCarthy replied.

But it was not just a red flag for McCarthy's partner, Shannon Laren. It was more like a bright red arrow pointing right at Linda Duffey.

"There was so many highly improbable events that would've had to have all lined up for this to actually have been an accident," he explained. "They didn't line up."

Still, McCarthy was not convinced. "Why didn't you just say this has got to be murder?" Schlesinger asked.

"Because I needed to be convinced myself that this was murder," McCarthy replied. "The last thing in the world I wanna do is send an ... innocent person to prison for the rest of their lives."

It wasn't enough for McCarthy to know what happened. He wanted to know why it happened.

"We struggled to find a compelling motive. And we looked. And we looked. And we looked," he said.

But they couldn't really find one. The Duffeys seemed to be an average middle class family living in the Los Angeles suburbs. There was a life insurance policy on Patrick, but they'd bought it decades earlier. There was no evidence of cheating. And considering her personality, McCarthy couldn't just dismiss Linda's story.

"It's like, 'OK, maybe this could've happened the way she says, 'cause she's so quirky and eccentric," he said.

Podcast: Hear more from the detectives

But it was about to get a little harder for McCarthy to believe Linda's story because of Tracy Peck, a firearms expert for the sheriff's department who was brought into the case by McCarthy and Laren.

Remember, according to Linda, she fired the way they did in the movies. It is possible to do that pretty easily -- with the right kind of gun.

The guns used in the cowboy movies were single-action guns. You can easily keep firing quickly by pulling and releasing the hammer while the trigger is held back.

"When the hammer is fanned, the cylinder will rotate with this type of gun. So it will fire the cartridges in the chambers of the cylinder as its being fanned," Peck demonstrated.

The Duffeys had two single-action revolvers in the house. But the gun Linda used to shoot her husband was not one of them. It was a double-action revolver -- and there's a big difference.

"The shooter simply pulls the trigger, which accomplishes both cocking the hammer and releasing the hammer. And the gun will fire," Peck demonstrated.

To rapid fire a double-action revolver, the shooter has to do all sorts of things at the right time and in the right sequence.

Asked if that type of gun is designed to be fired that way, Peck said, "No."

"For the purposes of this case, I essentially invented a way in which I would conceivably fan this. That included pulling the trigger, releasing the trigger, fanning the hammer, pulling the trigger, releasing the trigger, and fanning the hammer, but doing it pretty quickly," Peck demonstrated.

And Peck said it's very hard to aim while doing all that. She said the unexpected, deafening noise of the gun, and the recoil, would have alarmed Linda if she didn't know the gun was loaded.

According to Peck, it would have been next to impossible for Linda, who claimed to be an amateur, to shoot her husband twice, rapidly by accident -- especially since the wounds were so close together.

"I don't find it a very believable story," she told Schlesinger.

How far away was the gun from Patrick Duffey? 01:52

"I still wanted to believe her," McCarthy said of Linda. "But it clearly couldn't have gone down the way that she said it went down."

By now, Detective McCarthy was all but certain that Patrick Duffey's death was no accident, but the two detectives felt they didn't have enough to prove it. Because of a heavy workload -- it took two years -- but in January 2009, McCarthy and Laren brought Linda back in for another chat.

The conversation was recorded:

Linda Duffey to police: He showed me how to do it really fast. He goes, "You gotta do it like the cowboys."

"Well, in the second interview-- I think we were both convinced that this was a murder," said McCarthy.

How hard is it to fan fire a double-action revolver? 01:35

The detectives showed her a video of Tracy Peck fan firing the gun.

"I think she was certainly surprised when we explained to her how difficult it would be," McCarthy said. "I could tell the light bulb went on in her brain. And she said... I gotta at least change the story a little bit."

Linda now said she and her husband had practiced fan firing with an unloaded revolver for years:

Linda Duffey to police: Maybe like, yeah, 15, 20 times.

Asked if he believed her this time, McCarthy told Schlesinger, "No."

But the detectives wanted to give Linda one last chance to show them how she fired the gun. They made her an unusual offer.

"Meet us at the range. We'll bring an exact replica and show us how you can fire this gun in the manner that you said," said McCarthy.

The detectives were certain Linda would not kill again, so they let her go home again and waited to hear from her about their offer. Days turned into weeks, then months, and life went on at the homicide bureau.

"We changed partners," Det. Laren said. "And when that happens, you start getting new cases. ...And other cases start falling through the wayside."

As the years passed, Linda might have thought she was off the hook, but her past was about catch up with her.

"The district attorney said, 'I'm gonna file this case. And you need to go get her,'" said McCarthy.


With no news for nearly five years, Patrick Duffey's brother, John, and sister, Katherine Hunt, thought the police had decided his death was an accident and had closed the investigation. But Hunt said she had a hard time believing what Linda told her when she called on that awful day.

"She was incoherent," Hunt recalled. "And I said, 'What happened?' 'He was cleaning his gun, and it accidentally went off.'"

Linda told police that she had shot Patrick by accident, but later that night she told his siblings he'd shot himself.

"Could you picture him having that kind of an accident? " Schlesinger asked Hunt.

"No, absolutely not," she replied. "We were raised with guns."

"And we were taught to empty our ... weapons before even entering the house. And that was like the number one rule," said John Duffey.

"It was hard to believe that he had done something like that," said Hunt.

And Hunt learned she was right the day after Patrick died, when she met Linda at the funeral home.

"I said, 'Where was he shot?' And she went like this. Just like that," she said, tapping the top of her head. "That's when it hit me that he didn't shoot himself... I said, 'So tell me what really happened' ... she said, 'Oh, you're gonna hate me, you're gonna hate me.' ... I said, 'No, I'm not gonna hate you, but I need to know what the truth is.' ...And I said, 'Did you shoot my brother in the head?' And she said, 'Yes.'"

It was there, in the funeral home where Hunt first heard the tale of Elmer Fudd.

"Pat had told her, 'No bullets.' Like, 'No buwwets,' like -- like Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd, because they would talk in cartoon characters sometimes," Hunted laughed. "She thought the gun wasn't loaded, and it went off. ...I couldn't quite understand why she had lied. If it was an accident, it was an accident. But she had lied to us."

But police still had to prove she had lied to them about why she shot him. Detectives had interrogated her twice, and released her twice. The second time they let her go they'd made that unusual offer to meet her at the firing range.

"We even told her, 'it can be at your convenience,'" said McCarthy.

They weren't shocked when they didn't hear back from her and several months later they stopped by the Duffey's house and saw a "For Sale" sign. Her sons were home.

"And they said ... 'She's on her honeymoon in Italy,'" said McCarthy.

Two years after the shooting, Linda Duffey was Linda Gwozdz -- newly married to Lawrence Gwozdz, a world class saxophone player.

"When we Googled him, he was playing in Carnegie Hall," said McCarthy.

And once again when wedding bells rang, so did Julie Prendergast's phone.

"She asked me would I sing in that wedding. And I said, 'What?'" Prendergast said. "'Linda, I'm not coming to your wedding. ...something's not right, surrounding the death of Patrick.'"

Prendergast said she was uneasy with how Linda just moved on.

"She dyed her hair blonde. She was wearing different style of clothes. She seemed to be walking on air, on clouds, like oh, just as happy as can be," she said.

A year after shooting her first husband, Linda met Gwozdz online. She moved to Mississippi where her new husband was a music professor. She was out of sight, but for detectives Shannon Laren and Shaun McCarthy, she was not out of mind.

"Did you forget about this case? Was there a period of time where -" Schlesinger asked the detectives.

"Oh, no. Absolutely not," Lt. McCarthy replied.

When their workload with their new partners permitted, McCarthy and Laren each turned their attention back to Linda. They wanted to take a new look at the blood evidence with a new expert, Paul Delhauer. He studied the photos and police reports and concluded Linda had to be lying. Based on her statements, police believed Linda was claiming that she had fired quickly and from the same spot.

"She moved and the -- the relative position of the gun to the head changed," said Delhauer.

Blood spatter on Linda's shirt Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.

Standing next to the couch where Duffey died, Delhauer said the blood evidence told him a lot -- especially the tiny stains on Linda's clothing and the walls, called spatter, which he says came from the first shot.

"The barrel has to be within about three inches of the head in order to produce the spatter," he explained.

Delhauer said the second shot created a large pool of blood on the floor -- in the exact spot where Linda said she was standing.

"...she would've been getting jets of blood hitting her," Delhauer pointed out.

Asked if Linda had any blood on her, Laren said, "Very little. Very, very little."

Police thought they now had proof that Linda was lying -- she didn't have enough blood on her after the shooting to support her story. Laren and McCarthy thought they knew what really happened.

"She took aim, fired one round while he was sleeping ... realized he wasn't dead ... comes back on target, fires the second round, and that's why they're within two inches of each other," said McCarthy.

They believe Patrick's death wasn't an accident; it was an execution. By 2012, the new prosecutor assigned to the case was eager to move ahead. And police began talking to Linda's co-workers.

"Boy, that was very revealing," McCarthy said. "They consistently talked about how ... she was so charming. But then as time went on, they started finding out that she was this compulsive liar."

And Julie Prendergast had a few stories to tell about her one-time friend's record when it came to telling the truth.

"We all have one gallbladder. Linda had hers removed three times," Prendergast said. "Linda just always needed -- seemed to want to have attention."

It was enough for McCarthy. "I became absolutely convinced that we need to prosecute her," he said.

Finally in May 2012, five years after Patrick Duffey's death, Lt. McCarthy flew to Mississippi where Linda and her new husband were living in a comfortable home and she had gotten a job at the university.

"You knock on the door," Schlesinger said to McCarthy. "What's her reaction?"

"Her reaction was ... 'I thought the investigation was all over,'" he replied.

The investigation wasn't over. McCarthy arrested Linda Duffey Gwozdz for murder. And everyone was in for some surprises.


Six years after Linda Duffey shot her husband to death, she thought she was going on with her life with a new husband, a new house, a new look, and a new town. But now, she was going on trial for murder.

"Unfortunately, on this particular day, she was going to play with the gun again like she'd done so many times before and she rapid fired it into the top of his head. It was a complete accident," said her attorney, Joseph Low.

Low argued that, based partly on the words of Elmer Fudd -- "No more buwwets" -- Linda thought the .38 revolver was empty.

"Did you ever consider the possibility that this - what we'll call a Bugs Bunny defense, for lack of a better term, could be true?" Schlesinger asked Prosecutor Attorney Robert Villa.

"Zero percent chance it's true," he replied.

Robert Villa said in 27 years on the job, he's never seen a defense rely even partly on a cartoon.

Watching a prosecutor parrot a bunny was a first for "48 Hours" too, but an official transcript of the cartoon had to be made.

"Bugs is having a conversation with Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd," Villa explained before reading the transcript. "'What do you know, no more buwwets.' And then Bugs Bunny says 'No more buwwets?'

"As they're having this conversation, just as she was about to fan fire the gun, he laid down and put his own head right in front of the gun," Villa said of Linda's account. "It's so ridiculous."

"You know and I know, strange things do happen," Schlesinger noted.

"Strange things happen. This wasn't one of them," Villa replied. "He was asleep. She shot him in the head twice."

"It was that simple, open and shut?" Schlesinger asked.

"For me, it was," said Villa.

But it wasn't so simple for the jury. Over two weeks they heard three recordings of Linda's statements to authorities about cartoon rabbits and cowboy fan firing. They also heard days of testimony from dueling forensics experts about whether Linda's explanation made any sense at all. It was a lot for the jury to consider.

"It was difficult," juror Brandie Jones said. "For every expert there's another one who can tell you a different story."

The defense questioned whether prosecution expert witness Paul Delhauer was really an expert at all. The jurors deliberated for a day, but could not reach a verdict.

"Very few of us thought the intent was there," Jones said. "So how do you convict somebody when it could have happened exactly the way she explained it?"

With a deadlocked jury, the judge had no choice and had to declare a mistrial.

"It sends a clear message that the jury wasn't willing to convict on murder," said defense attorney Joseph Low.

"Were you disappointed?" Schlesinger asked Prosecutor Villa.

"I'm always disappointed when there's no verdict, because that means I have to do it again," he replied.

And roughly one year later, with Linda having remained in jail, Villa was doing it again. This time his case would be very different - streamlined and simple.

"He laid down on the couch," Villa addressed the court in his opening. "His wife came up to him, put a gun between one and seven inches from his head, and pulled the trigger. ...Some time went by. She pulled the trigger again."

He said the Duffey's marriage was strained and Linda thought she might have to take care of her ailing husband.

"She's like, 'I'm not gonna wait on this guy for the rest of his life,'" Villa told Schlesinger.

"This was a premeditated and deliberate murder," he told the court.

For his opening arguments, defense attorney Joseph Low brought his own sofa to the courtroom to present this as a simple case.

"No motive, no intent, no crime," he told the court. "Pat was her best friend, and she was his. ... One of the things they loved to do is to watch cartoons together... They were kinda goofy."

But there are many aspects to this trial that are, if you will, offbeat.

Judge John Torribio has a reputation for lightening the atmosphere for the jury.

"One of you asked the clerk about how the cameras work. Well, they're only on me," Judge Torribio joked to the jurors, who laughed in response. "I'm the star, so don't worry."

But things quickly got serious when the district attorney took jurors back to the moment right after Linda Duffey shot her husband:

Linda Duffey to 911: My husband was going to go shooting and he was showing me how to use a gun and I shot him. ... He said there were no bullets in the gun! ...I thought that's what he told me.

"It's hard to make out some of the words 'cause she can't even talk," Low told jurors about Lind;a 911 call to police.

"She sounds terrified and frantic to me. What does she sound like to you?" Schlesinger asked Villa.

"She sounds like someone who is acting," he replied.

Using the firearm to demonstrate, Tracy Peck told the jury Linda had to pull the trigger on the gun twice to get two bullets to fire.

"If I do not release the trigger, the cylinder will not advance," she testified.

The big surprise in this trial is what prosecutor Robert Villa leaves out.

"I ask that people's exhibits 1 through 35 be admitted into evidence, and with that I rest," he told the court.

"I rested my case after basically two-and-a-half days," he told Schlesinger.

Unlike the first trial, there was very little dense forensic testimony about blood stains and, most crucially, he did not introduce Linda's taped interviews with police, where she first discussed Bugs Bunny.

"There was no need for Bugs Bunny," Schlesinger noted to Villa.

"No need, unless she took the stand," he said.

Villa has thrown defense attorney Joseph Low a curve ball. Since the defense isn't allowed to introduce the police interrogations unless the State does first, the only way jurors will hear Linda's side of the story is if she takes the stand and exposes herself to cross examination.

"Were you hoping she would take the stand?" Schlesinger asked.

"Absolutely," Villa replied.

"Were you ready?"


Low began his defense with a good offense. His first witness was the detective who at first did not think Linda was a murderess:

Joseph Low: When you're done asking her questions, you allowed Mrs. Duffey to go home.

Lt. Shaun McCarthy: Correct.

"Talking to her ... was very convincing to me," McCarthy told Schlesinger. "She was eccentric and, how could she harm anybody?"

Joseph Low: You would not let somebody who you thought had just committed a murder go back out on the street ... Isn't that correct, sir?

Robert Villa: Objection, relevance.

Judge Torribio: Sustained.

"That night I liked her. As the investigation went on, I liked her a lot less," said McCarthy.

Low tried to paint a sympathetic picture of Linda by calling her sons to the stand.

"She's a very emotional, caring person," Thomas Duffey testified.

"We were always really happy," Sean Duffey told the court. "They liked cartoons a lot. They were always making funny jokes to each other ... always poked fun at each other and stuff."

The defense has a very big decision to make: will Linda take the stand herself?

"And if she took the stand, we were gonna hear all about Bugs Bunny," said Villa.

Linda decided not to take the stand. Worried that the jury will hear nothing about fan firing, her lawyer comes up with an idea.

"I'd like to refer the court and counsel to page 5 of the 911 transcript," Low addressed the court.

He found a reference to it in the 911 tape prosecutors have already introduced.

"A long time ago he showed me how to pull the thing back on the top of the gun and pull the trigger it fast," the Judge Torribio read aloud.

So Low is allowed to call firearms expert Lance Martini, who said fan firing a double-action gun like Linda claims she did isn't so far-fetched after all.

Lance Martini: This can be done. It's not overly common, but it certainly can be done.

Joseph Low: Is it humanly possible to shoot more than one round in less than a second? Double-action mode?

Lance Marini: Yes it is.

"There's no way, absolutely no way that it happened that way," Villa told Schlesinger.

In his closing, Villa told jurors, "This was an execution."

The jurors in Linda's second trial never got to see any cartoons, but they did see an animation produced by the prosecutor. It is no laughing matter; it attempts to answer a deadly serious question: what happened to Patrick Duffey?

The video animation of a woman shooting her husband in the head twice doesn't leave much to imagination, although the defense, in closing arguments, said it and the rest of the State's case are all a fantasy.

"She accidentally shot her husband," Low told the court. "It ain't right, it's not fair to guess somebody into a conviction, guess somebody into a concrete tomb."

"It all comes down to whether it's one word or two words from the jury," Schlesinger commented to Villa. "Guilty or not guilty."

"Correct," he replied.


It's been a long road - now nearly seven years since Patrick Duffey died and one year after a jury deadlocked in his wife's first murder trial. This time, the jury came back in just over 24 hours:

"We the jury above and titled action find the defendant Linda Doreen Gwozdz guilty of the crime of second-degree murder..."

The guilty verdict floored Linda, who collapsed while leaving the courtroom. It hit her lawyer hard, too; he waved off the camera. For his part, the prosecutor is more relieved than anything else.

"I'm pleased that I don't have to try it a third time," Villa said.

"You saw how she reacted," Schlesinger commented to Villa.

"Yes," he said. "I've always thought she was an actress, so, that was her moment."

Patrick Duffey's sister, Katherine Hunt, has waited years for this day.

"That's the first time I saw her really cry," she said following the verdict. "She didn't get away with murdering my brother."

Linda Duffey Gwozdz addresses the court at her sentencing
Linda Duffey Gwozdz addresses the court at her sentencing

When it came time to sentence Linda three months later, it was her last chance to address the court:

"I wanted to let all of you know how grieved I feel. Most of all to Patrick and -- my beautiful sons, Sean and Thomas, because you lost such a loving wonderful father," she said.

Her sons try their best to ask for leniency.

"If there's anything you can do to help out with my family," Sean Duffey said in court, "that's all I can ask."

"I believe she's innocent, and I will until the day I die," Thomas Duffey told the judge.

Linda's second husband, Larry Gwozdz, also appealed to the judge.

"To assert that this was a premeditated purposeful act, I'm sorry. It's unacceptable to me," he said.

"Look at these two people, beautifully in love," Gwozdz continued, shakily holding up a photo of himself and Linda. "Why? Because she's a wonderful human being ... who doesn't deserve this."

But the judge doesn't have much leeway.

"In this particular instance the law mandates 40 to life, and my oath requires that I impose that," he said.

"48 Hours" found it curious that one jury could not agree on a verdict at all and a second jury convicted Linda in a day. It is ironic, but in these two trials it's apparently true, that, in the case against Linda Duffey Gwozdz, less was more.

"48 Hours" sat down with jurors from both trials to see why one jury quickly reached a verdict, while the other never did.

Remember, the jury that convicted Linda only heard the bare bones prosecution -- very little about fan firing or cartoons.

"They heard a lot more than you heard," Schlesinger commented to the jurors from the second trial.

"And we can only make the decision based off of the evidence that we heard," said juror Danielle Wong.

The jurors from both trials -- the ones who heard the long story and the ones who heard it made short -- sat around our table and pondered: while less may be more, is it enough?

"You're putting a woman away for the rest of her life, so present everything," said Brandie Jones, a juror in the first trial, who voted not guilty.

"I think I really have to agree with Brandie. Maybe all the evidence should be presented," said Wong.

"Did you know she gave an interview to police?" Schlesinger asked.

"Uh-uh," Wong replied, shaking her head "no."

"Would you have liked to?" Schlesinger asked.

"I would have loved to hear what she had to say. Would that have changed my decision? Don't know. Possibly," Wong replied.

"If you had heard everything ... do you think it would have affected the deliberations?" Schlesinger asked.

"Absolutely," said Wong.

And even though they made their decision, some of the jurors who convicted Linda still have questions.

"Did it bother you that they never said exactly why she did it?" Schlesinger asked.

"Um, yeah, it did," said Wong.

"How'd you get over that?"

"I'm not over it. I still wanna know!" she replied.

"When I heard the guilty verdict, I said, 'Yay, justice is finally served," said Julie Prendergast.

Prendergast has no doubt the second jury did the right thing by finding her former friend guilty. And she wonders how Linda's life, which was once so happy, became so sad.

"I'm sad for everyone involved ... Those two boys lost their father. And now, they're losing their mother," she said. "It's a tragic story ... in every way you can think about it."

Linda Duffey Gwozdz is appealing her conviction

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.