Fayette County

Lexington mother of 6 gets 5 years for killing husband

There was rarely a day when Sandra G. Lubben's family saw her without a black eye.

She endured physical and mental abuse from her husband, David Lubben, because she was scared of what would happen if she reported the violence.

The Lexington mother of six was trapped in an abusive relationship from which she could not escape, her defense attorney said Thursday.

But a circuit court judge said Lubben, 40, made poor choices and would have to face consequences for the final decision she made in her marriage.

Lubben was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for reckless homicide in the 2007 shooting death of her husband. She will be eligible for parole in one year.

Lubben pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in March. She originally was charged with murder in the death of her husband on March 18, 2007.

Sandra and David Lubben had argued about whether to buy her mother a carton of cigarettes the day David Lubben died, according to witnesses. The argument escalated to yelling, threats and David Lubben throwing a chair at his wife.

A little after 10 p.m., Sandra Lubben shot her husband.

"I'm truly sorry for what happened on that tragic day," Lubben read from a written statement during sentencing. "My only goal in all of this is to learn from my mistake."

Jason Rapp, Sandra Lubben's defense attorney, said during the sentencing hearing that Lubben shot her husband in self-defense. David Lubben was reaching for something to hurt his wife when she shot him, Rapp said.

"This is a woman who was nothing but scared," he said.

But Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine said she was concerned that David Lubben was shot in the back.

"That is not a classic case of self-defense," she said.

Goodwine denied a request for probation, noting that Lubben had been charged with driving under the influence while out of jail on bond. Lubben also has a pending second-degree arson charge in McCreary County.

Goodwine said Lubben made some bad choices, the first being to marry David Lubben after he had shown a history of violence toward her.

"I think other choices should have been made that day. If not that day, the day before," Goodwine said.