Summary of “The Plot Against the Principality of Sealand”

At the trial that autumn, the government’s star witness, 25-year-old Carl Winchester, a friend of one of Jannie’s employees, testified that Jannie had pointed a gun at Orell and pulled the trigger several times, but it never fired.
The prosecution claimed that the three defendants finished him off in the car, while Jannie and the others testified that they were talking calmly when the men began arguing and struggling with Orell, and he fell out of the car and died from his injuries.
In his testimony, he said Orell reached for the gun and struck Jannie – “He lunged at her and almost knocked her down” – when she pulled the trigger.
Orell asked Jannie to give him a ride home, and she agreed on the condition that the two other men came along.
At one point, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Smithson, said of Jannie: “I believe this woman to be that type of individual that they call accident prone.” He defined that as someone who “Make[s] claims against her paramour or husband for the purpose of harassment and to get various pieces of property from him.”
Judge Joseph McGarraghy refused to allow testimony or evidence about Jannie’s IRS history, and the jury apparently accepted the contention – introduced by the police within days of Orell’s death, repeated frequently in newspapers, and advanced by the prosecution – that Jannie was furious at Orell for snitching.
Orell died from a result of Jannie’s acts of self-defense during a series of drunken brawls.
Jannie’s sole remaining close relative, a daughter now in her 60s, at first denied that Jannie was her mother.

The orginal article.