Judge: Man Can't Have Pension of Wife He Killed

Wash. revisits 'slayer statute' over man who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2016 1:06 PM CST
Judge: Guy Can't Have Pension of Wife He Killed
A man who killed his wife can't collect her pension, a Washington state judge has ruled.   (Shutterstock)

Robert Selland stabbed his wife to death in 2011, admitted doing so, and currently resides in a mental hospital after having been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Now, thanks to a Washington state judge who ruled on Jan. 22 that Selland falls under the state's "slayer statute," he's out about $21,000. Selland was set to inherit that money from Carol Selland's pension fund; the statute, which prevents murderers from profiting from the death of their own victims, didn't apply to him because he wasn't found guilty. "I said, ‘Time out. Stop. That isn’t right. He killed her. He shouldn’t get a penny of it,'" Carol Selland's twin sister, Cheryl Gacek, tells the Olympian.

The money now goes to Gacek, who says she'll split it among Carol Selland's three adult children. One of those children, Nick Kilgore, told KVEW in April that his mom had wanted out of her 8-year marriage when she was killed. The station reports she was stabbed 17 times, and notes a brain lesion factored into Selland's insanity plea. Gacek's victory looks to be twofold: The state Senate last week unanimously approved a law that clarifies the slayer statute to include those found not guilty due to insanity; the measure is set to go before the House, reports the AP. "Sometimes it takes an appalling case for us to see the gaps in state law," said Republican state Sen. Bruce Dammeier, who introduced the bill, after the 49-0 vote. (Read more Washington state stories.)

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