An Iowa woman accused of fatally stabbing her husband’s romantic partner was convicted in her murder this week.
Michelle Boat, 46, was found guilty on Tuesday in last year’s slaying of 46-year-old Tracy Mondabough, the Associated Press reported. It took less than an hour for a 12-person jury to render the verdict.
Mondabough was stabbed to death while sitting in her truck in Pella, Iowa on May 18, 2020, according to the Ottumwa Courier. Prosecutors argued Boat had been driven to kill after learning her husband of two decades had left her for Mondabough.
Boat carried out the deadly knife attack after she witnessed her husband, Nicholas Boat, kiss Mondabough twice, according to the newspaper.
During the trial, Boat testified she “snapped” after her marriage imploded amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
“I just snapped, and I grabbed the knife,” Boat told the court, the Daily Beast reported. “And I just stabbed her, and I dropped the knife.”
Boat could be seen shedding tears during the court proceedings. Her defense attorney had previously argued that Mondabough’s killing wasn’t planned.
"We're asking for you to find Michelle guilty of voluntary manslaughter," defense lawyer Trevor Andersen said in court on Tuesday. "We believe the evidence has shown, and the lack of other evidence, that this is the charge that most fits the facts."
He argued Boat should have been handed a lesser charge of manslaughter, rather than first-degree murder.
“I don’t want you to sympathize with Mrs. Boat,” Andersen told jurors. “I don’t want you to give her mercy. She doesn’t deserve it. She killed someone seat-belted in her truck, with no weapon — killed her and left her for dead, drove off. That is not asking for sympathy when I ask you to consider why.”
Prior to the stabbing, a brief physical struggle had ensued between Boat and Mondabough, which Andersen said is what led to the killing.
"Under the circumstances that the hitting and the words caused this," he added. "I'm not judging what Tracy did."
Prosecutors, however, insisted Boat’s murder was pre-meditated.
“Michelle Boat didn’t act because of some sudden, irresistible provocation," said Jared Harmon, an assistant Marion County prosecutor. "She was the provocation.”
Harmon said Mondabough was strapped in by her seatbelt and didn’t have the opportunity to defend herself when she was stabbed in her truck. He also cited Boat’s purchase of a knife, binoculars, and gloves as further evidence she’d planned to murder Mondabough. The county prosecutor also pointed to threatening text messages Boat sent leading up to the fatal stabbing.
“This was the result of planning, plotting and premeditation,” Harmon added. “Michelle Boat warned Tracy. On May 18, Michelle Boat had already assembled all the tools that she needed for murder: she had the knife, she had the gloves, she had the binoculars, all with her, just waiting for one final ingredient — and that was opportunity."
Boat faces a mandatory punishment of life imprisonment without parole. No date has been scheduled for her sentencing.
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