"Francine Hughes Wilson, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity after setting her abusive ex-husband on fire as he slept in 1977, a homicide dramatized in the TV movie 'The Burning Bed' and that directed national attention toward domestic violence, died March 22 in Sheffield, Alabama. She was 69.
Her family confirmed her death and said the cause was complications from pneumonia.
Four decades ago, Francine Hughes of Dansville, Michigan, was a cause celebre, the subject of national news stories detailing the agony she had endured during her 13-year relationship with James 'Mickey' Hughes and the desperate lengths to which she went to end it.
The case became a textbook example of a condition experts dubbed 'battered-woman syndrome.' Feminists parsed Wilson's successful 'temporary insanity' defense, debating whether the verdict represented a victory or a defeat for their cause."
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