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Woman’s Appeal Denied In Notorious ’02 Orinda Murder Case

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Susan Polk

Susan Polk (AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The California Supreme Court Wednesday turned down an East Bay woman’s appeal of her second-degree murder conviction in the killing of her estranged psychotherapist husband in Contra Costa County in 2002.

The high court, in an order issued at its San Francisco headquarters, declined without comment to review a Court of Appeal ruling in December that upheld the conviction of Susan Polk.

Polk, 53, of Orinda, was convicted in Contra Costa County Superior Court in 2006 of second-degree murder for fatally stabbing Felix Polk, 71, in a cottage on their property in Orinda in 2002.

Superior Court Judge Laurel Brady sentenced her in 2007 to 16 years to life in prison.

Susan Polk admitted to stabbing her estranged husband, but claimed she acted in self-defense after he picked up a kitchen knife. The two were in the midst of a contentious divorce at the time.

Susan Polk met Felix Polk when she was 14 and he was acting as her therapist for panic attacks. They married 10 years later, in 1982, and had three sons.

Two of the sons testified as prosecution witnesses, and the third testified as a defense witness in their mother’s 14-week trial.

Polk acted as her own attorney during the tumultuous trial, but had a court-appointed lawyer, Victor Morse, during her appeals. Morse was not immediately available for comment.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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