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Susan Polk: Murder or Self-Defense?

Charged in Death of Wealthy Therapist Husband


Susan Polk, 47, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 70-year-old wealthy husband, Frank (Felix) Polk, a prominent Berkeley psychologist, who was found with five stab wounds in the pool house at the couple's upscale San Francisco home in 2002.

Prosecutors claim the murder of Polk was a cold, calculated attempt by his wife to gain control of his multimillion dollar estate, but defense attorneys claim Susan Polk had long been controlled, abused and battered by her husband and she acted in self-defense when he flew into a rage and attacked her.

The high-profile trial of Susan Polk drew media attention because testimony is expected pit brother against brother and son against mother.

Susan Polk said she first met Felix Polk as a teen, when she was seeing him as a therapist. She claims they first had sex when he drugged and raped her at age 15.

At age 25, Susan and Felix were married and eventually had three sons -- Gabriel, 18, Eli, 20 and Adam, 22.

Susan's defense attorney, Daniel Horowitz, claims that she had long been a battered wife under the physical and emotional control of Felix. The defense claims Felix Polk had a history of mental illness and he was not taking his medication at the time of his death.

Out-Of-Control Rage

Polk's defense attorneys will try to show that Felix Polk would fly into a rage when he felt he was losing control of his wife and that he used his sons to try to maintain control over Susan. The defense claims he was in one of these rages when Susan Polk stabbed him five times to defend herself.

The prosecution paints a different picture of Susan Polk, claiming she was calm and collected on the night of his murder and took steps to cover up her involvement in his death.

Evidence Destroyed?

Prosecutor Tom O'Connor claims Susan Polk acted guilty after her husband's death and changed her story after physical evidence placed her inside the pool house. She first denied having anything to do with the murder, O'Connor said.

O'Connor said Susan got rid of the clothes that she wore the night of the murder and disposed of the murder weapon, which still has not be found. He says she also moved her husband's car to a BART station to mislead investigators and her son, Gabriel, who found his father's body and called police.

Brother Against Brother

Gabriel is expected to testify than his mother had threatened his father's life and opening talked about killing him and how she would do it. The oldest son Adam is also expected to testify against his mother. Gabriel and Adam have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Susan Polk.

The middle son Eli is expected to testify for the defense, standing by his mother. The trial began Oct. 17, 2005.

UPDATE: Mistrial Declared in Susan Polk Murder Trial
A mistrial was declared in the murder trial of Susan Polk, accused of killing her wealthy therapist husband, because of the murder of the wife of her lead attorney, Daniel Horowitz.

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