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Woman convicted of killing parents

FRANKLINTON, La., Jan. 22 -- A Washington Parrish courthouse today will begin considering a punishment for a 30-year-old Louisiana woman found guilty of murdering her parents. Prosecutors say they will ask that Shanda Spears Crain be given the death sentence.

They says she shot her parents in January 1995 in order to use the $300,000 benefit from their life insurance to fund her video poker habit. The Franklinton jury deliberated about four hours Tuesday before returning the guilty verdict. Franklinton is located about 50 miles north of New Orleans. Prosecutors say Crain lost more than $5,000 in 1994 playing video poker. They introduced evidence that she forged checks for thousands of dollars on accounts for the dairy farm and a bar owned by her parents. Investigators told the jury Crain even cut the phone lines to her parents' home when she learned their bank was trying to contact them about checks she had written on their accounts. Crain was the beneficiary of her parents' life insurance, and prosecutors introduced testimony that she had reviewed the policy the day before they died. The mother of three confessed to the shootings, but contended she was innocent of murder because her husband had coerced her. Prosecutors introduced evidence that her husband was out of state when the slayings occurred. ---

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