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Jurors deliberate in trial of woman accused of killing fiance
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Tabitha Wood and attorney Rob McNeill sit in Hall County Superior Court March 14, 2023, during the first day of her murder trial. Wood is accused of killing her 82-year-old fiancé Leroy Franklin Kramer Jr. and the living with the body for months. - photo by Scott Rogers

The jury has entered deliberations in the murder trial for Tabitha Wood, the 46-year-old Gainesville woman accused of killing her 82-year-old fiance and living with the body for two months.

Wood faces charges of malice murder, felony murder, exploitation of an elder person, concealing the death of another, financial transaction card theft and aggravated assault against a person 65 years of age or older.

The indictment alleges Wood inflicted “traumatic injury to the neck and chest” of Leroy Franklin Kramer, Jr., 82, of Gainesville, though a specific weapon is not listed.

Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler went through what he called Wood's 12 stories she has told her friends, her family, Kramer's family, law enforcement, the defense's expert and the jury since early 2022.

Over the three days of evidence, the prosecution highlighted how Wood claimed Kramer was still alive and living in Gilmer County and later telling multiple people that he committed suicide.

Defense attorney Jake Shapiro pulled out a belt and whipped it in the well of the courtroom to illustrate the abuse Wood testified she suffered at Kramer's hands.

Shapiro vehemently implored the jury to not convict Wood of murder or the lesser option of voluntary manslaughter, asking them to find her not guilty of all charges.

Wood has asserted self-defense, though Buckler pointed to the fact that Wood did not testify to any violence that would have led to Kramer’s fatal injuries.

As he rose to finish his closing argument, Buckler asked Superior Court Judge Lindsay Burton if the defense was seeking to withdraw the voluntary manslaughter instruction. 

Shapiro said for legal reasons he could not, which Buckler pointed to as the defense trying to have it both ways.

Shapiro objected to this, which was overruled by Burton.

The jury returned after 1 p.m. from a lunch break and heard Burton's instructions. The jurors left the courtroom at 1:50 p.m.