Woman Stabs Husband 193 Times; Self Defense?

48 Hours Mystery: Susan Wright Sentenced to 25 Years; Can the Wife of an Ex-NFL Star Help Free Her From Prison?

Betting Her Life 42:32

Susan Wright has had six years in a Texas penitentiary to reflect on the bloody end to her troubled marriage - while longing for the children she's now legally prohibited from seeing.

"My heart hurts for everything that happened. We had two beautiful children. He had a full life ahead of him and so did I," she told "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Richard Schlesinger in an exclusive interview. "Holidays are very hard, birthdays are hard," she says tearing up, "sometimes just waking up and missing everyone, it's very hard."

In March 2004, a Houston jury convicted Susan Wright of murder and sentenced her to 25 years for stabbing her husband, Jeff, almost 200 times.

"I'd honestly expected them to come back and say, 'not guilty'" Susan told Schlesinger.
"Because I had gotten up on the stand and I had told them what happened. And that's just the way that life was. I expected them to believe it."

Cindy Stewart saw her sister taken away after her conviction and has never stopped fighting to prove that Susan's story is true.

"I lost my sister that day," Stewart explained. "She was a stay-at-home mom. She's not a tough girl. She baked cookies everyday… she was going to be thrown into prison. I didn't know if she would survive."

Susan's trial quickly created headlines, not only because of the number of stab wounds, but because of the performance of prosecutor Kelly Siegler. She created quite a stir, to say the least, when she reenacted her theory of the murder by bringing Jeff and Susan's bed into the courtroom.

"Right, so if the defendant were tied to get up on top of Jeffrey Wright, something like this, and straddle him, and she's right handed, and how do you think she held the knife? Put it in my hand," Siegler said while sitting over a male prosecutor on top of the bed in front of the court.

Of Siegler's demonstration, Susan said, "I was just horrified that anyone thought that that was what happened."

"I felt sick," her sister, Cindy Stewart said. "I had no idea that law was more of a theatrical presentation than it was about justice."

Siegler has a legendary flair for the theatrical.

"Do you think a knife just magically appeared in her hand?" Siegler continued in court. "They're gonna tell you post-traumatic stress syndrome. How about cover-your-tail syndrome. That's what went on that week after she killed Jeffrey Wright."

Susan believes her young attorneys were no match for the toughest little prosecutor in Texas and they never put on proof of her claim that she was a battered wife.

"The original trial just didn't explain everything," Susan told Schlesinger.

According to Susan, to understand what happened the night she killed Jeff, you first need to know what happened in the years leading up to it.

"I just thought that we were going to have that fairytale marriage with the kids and the house, you know, the same thing that every other girl dreams about," she explained.

When they married, Susan was 22 and Jeff was 30 and a successful carpet salesman. Susan said Jeff changed shortly after the birth of their first child, Bradley.

She testified at her trial that Jeff started doing drugs and became abusive. "He told me what a fat ass that I was; he told me that I was stupid and that I was worthless," she said in the stand.

And then, she said, the abuse became physical. "He threw me up against the wall and he shook me by my arms as hard as he could, until he wasn't angry, and he began to punch me in the chest over and over again," she continued in court.

"Susan began to complain about his marijuana use, which escalated into complaints about cocaine use," said Stewart, who was worried for her sister's safety and, at one point, helped her leave Jeff.

"He had thrown Susan through a wall, and we witnessed this hole in the sheetrock that was the size of her back," explained Stewart.

But the very next day, Jeff showed up where Susan and Bradley were staying with a moving van and took them back home.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that she made up the whole story," Jeff's father, Ron Wright told Schlesinger. "She actually tortured him to death. He bled to death. She stabbed him in his eye while he was still alive."

Ron Wright, who thinks about what happened "almost every day," said in the four years Susan and his son were married, he never saw any sign of abuse. In fact, Susan never filed a single police report before exploding in violence on the night of Jan. 13, 2003.

Susan testified that Jeff had come home that night high and agitated.

"He had just gotten done with a boxing lesson and he wanted to box with Bradley… Jeff got his hands up in a boxing motion and started making jabs at Bradley's head," she said demonstrating with her hands.

But, she said, the 4-year-old didn't want to play.

"That just kept frustrating Jeff. The more that he didn't want to do it, he kept calling Bradley a 'sissy', and a 'little girl,'" she testified.

"Did Jeff end up hitting Bradley in the cheek?" her lawyer asked. "Yes, he did," she replied.

Susan said she put Bradley and his younger sister, Kaily, to bed and then confronted her husband. She told him she would leave if he didn't get help.

"…he came at me and he swung me around and threw me against the wall. And he told me not to give him any 'f-king ultimatums, bitch,' that I didn't have the right."

Susan told the court, later that night, Jeff raped her.

"My eyes were closed. And I heard his voice. And it was scary, it was calm. And he said 'die bitch.' And I opened my eyes."

She said Jeff was holding a knife. According to Susan, she kicked Jeff in the groin, grabbed the knife and started stabbing.

When asked where she stabbed him, she testified, "In his head, and in his chest, and in his neck, and in his stomach and in his leg, for when he kicked me. I stabbed him in his penis for all the times that he made me have sex and I didn't want to. And I couldn't stop, because he was gonna kill me and I couldn't stop."

Prosecutor Siegler doesn't believe a word of it, telling the court, "See, what you're left with is the word of a card-carrying, obvious, no doubt about it, caught red-handed, confirmed, documented liar."