Female Killer Keeps Her Freedom

A Kent County Judge has denied the state's request to reargue the case of a female killer released from prison after he modified her sentence.

Judge Robert Young wrote Tuesday there was nothing in the state's motion for reargument that he had not already carefully considered.

Catherine Culp, 56, was released from prison and began serving probation last week after Young concluded her model conduct and extensive rehabilitation efforts as an inmate demonstrated "extraordinary circumstances" justifying a modification of her sentence. Culp was convicted of 1st degree murder for the 1998 shooting of her 69-year-old boyfriend, Lee Hicks. Culp shot Hicks at close range. She told neighbors and police it was an accident. Hours earlier at a family cookout, the couple had argued, according to court documents, because Culp commented that she'd like to sleep with Hicks' grandson.

In his decision, Judge Young characterized Culp as a "beacon" of hope for other inmates, according to Delaware State News. During the time she served, Culp earned an associates degree, graduating with honors and a 3.15 grade-point average.

Prosecutors contend that Young was barred from considering a second motion for sentence modification after an initial motion was denied in 2003. Jurors who convicted Culp recommended she spend the rest of her life in prison, with no parole. Prosecutors also argue that Young erred in concluding that Culp had demonstrated "extraordinary circumstances."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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