Husband stabbed 89 times: Houston jury acquits widow Janet Alexander of husband murder in 2018

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) – A grandmother, accused of killing her husband and then setting her home on fire when she was arrested, was found not guilty.

Janet Alexander, 72, was acquitted Tuesday of the murder of Lionel Alexander, 64. The trial lasted six days.

It was April 27, 2018, when Houston police were called to a house in Valley Wind Drive on the east side of the city.

Lionel Alexander had been stabbed to death. Janet told police the couple had had a fight and that things escalated.

He had a knife, he said, and he took control of it. He said he acted in self-defense after decades of abuse.

Houston police confirmed they had been called home earlier. An autopsy revealed that Lionel Alexander was stabbed 89 times.

A year later, a grand jury indicted Janet Alexander, and when the police went to serve the arrest warrant April 2019she set fire to herself and her house, almost burning it to the ground.

Alexander’s criminal defense attorney Joe Wells said years of suffering led to what he called a suicide attempt at the time of his arrest. He said the jury reached the correct verdict.

“He suffered so much abuse from him, both physical and emotional. It was pretty shocking,” Wells said. “She Finally she snapped. He couldn’t take it anymore, and when he threatened her, he decided it was time for her to finally react.”

Wells said the couple’s children supported her during the trial and that jury members were later surprised that she hadn’t reacted earlier. The couple have been married for more than 40 years.

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