Francine Moran Hughes (later Wilson; respectable 17, 1947 – in march 22, 2017) to be an American mrs who, after ~ 13 year of domestic abuse, set fire come the bed of she live-in ex-husband Mickey Hughes, on in march 9, 1977, in Dansville, Michigan. Mickey was killed and also the house damaged in the result fire. At trial, Hughes was discovered not guilty by reason of temporary insanity in among the first cases involving "battered-woman syndrome" together a defense.

You are watching: Family pictures of francine and mickey hughes



Early life

Hughes was born in Stockbridge, Michigan. Her mom named she Francine after a French musician. Her father, a farmworker, was an abusive alcoholic. Her mother, she later on said, called her that "you go what was ideal for her husband." At age 16, Francine left high institution to get married James "Mickey" Hughes. They had 4 children.


Although she had moved the end after your divorce to be finalized in April 1971, Mickey had actually moved back in v her after he was associated in a serious auto accident the summer. Francine later testified in court the although she to be reluctant to have him go back to the home, she felt she could not refuse as she go not desire to "hurt him more...than he already had been", introduce to the severity that his injuries native the accident.

The abuse persisted and escalated in the years after Mickey"s recovery, and also he regularly beat her, damaged furniture and also murdered his daughter"s kitten. Francine felt the she can not eliminate Mickey from the house or move out herself, fearing the he would kill her. She derived her GED and, in 1976, enrolled in a secretarial food in an effort to retain part independence.

Crime and also trial


On the job of the fire, march 9, 1977, Francine went back from her secretarial food in the afternoon and found Mickey intoxicated and irate. He refused to enable her to do food for their 4 children, and berated she for some time about quitting school, i m sorry she refused to agree to, even after Mickey required her to burn her schoolbooks. He began to physically attack her. The police attended and spoke come the pair, but left ~ refusing come arrest Mickey together he had actually not struck her in former of them. However, a police officer would later testify that Hughes had warned her that "it was every over" because that her due to the fact that she had dubbed the police.

Francine again test to do dinner because that herself and the children, yet Mickey ended up being irate and also swept the food ~ above the ground. He forced Francine come the floor by bending her arm behind her ago and made she clean the mess through her hands. Once she was finished, the dumped the end the trash can on the floor and forced she to clean it again. Finally, he forced her to agree to quit secretarial school and also burn she textbooks.

Francine then made Mickey dinner. After ~ eating, he dropped asleep in his bed. Some hours passed, during which Francine discussed leaving v the children. However, she determined to wait for she youngest boy Dana to return home. As soon as he did not return after some time, Francine decided to burn the home down to avoid her from returning to her life with Mickey again.

She told the three kids that to placed on your coats and wait in the car. She then poured gasoline roughly Mickey"s bed and also lit the gasoline on fire. The result fire consumed the home. In the meantime, through her children in the car, Francine drove to the police station so she can confess to the killing.

After a psychological in Lansing, Michigan, Francine was found not guilty by reason of short-term insanity. Both the prosecution and also the defense agreed that Francine"s plight was sympathetic. However, no jurors have ever before confirmed publicly whether the was a variable in your decision. The concept of jury nullification may apply here.

Later years

In 1980, Hughes married Robert Wilson, a country musician, and also became a nurse. She was an LPN and also worked at several nursing homes. After retiring, she sat through the elderly and taught a parenting class. She died in Leighton, Alabama, on in march 22, 2017, from symptom of pneumonia the she emerged in late 2016. She was 69.

See more: How Do You Know If Shrimp Is Bad, How Can You Tell If Frozen Shrimps Are Bad

Cultural impact

Folk singer Lyn Hardy also created a song around these occasions entitled "The Ballad that Francine Hughes".