Monday, June 26, 2006


Sharon Spangler was in the upstairs bathroom of her Dryden home fixing her hair and contemplating her new life. It was November 2002, and Spangler, a DaimlerChrysler Corp. engineer, had signed the divorce papers a day before, ending her 14-year marriage to Steven Spangler. Then, the dog barked. Her estranged husband was coming up the stairs.

She later would tell investigators he had picked up the gun she kept on her nightstand and came at her. They fought and he smashed her face with his fists. Then the gun fell, and she grabbed it and fired.

A Lapeer County jury later would reject prosecutors' claims -- based on Steven Spangler's statements before he died a day later -- that she had provoked the fight to make his killing look like self-defense. It still cost Sharon Spangler her job; she had been on a leave for stress and, while in jail, she couldn't make the required medical appointments, the company said.

And when she was acquitted, DaimlerChrysler told her that her job no longer existed. Now she's suing in Oakland County Circuit Court to get that job back.... Shortly after Spangler's arrest, DaimlerChrysler notified her that she would have to undergo a medical exam to continue her medical leave or show up for work by Jan. 3. Family members and attorneys contacted the company. She's in jail, they said, and the judge won't allow her to post bond.

In early January 2003, Sharon Spangler learned from her jail cell that she had been fired. "I had been OK up until then, but at that point, I lost all hope," she said. She was in jail for eight months, before posting 10% of a $1-million bond. And as she grappled with the loss of her job, her lawyers were putting together her defense.... Jurors deliberated about five hours before acquitting her in March 2004....

In the lawsuit, Spangler alleges that her civil rights have been violated, and that the company also is violating victims rights laws. Such laws prohibit companies from firing victims of crime for failing to show up for work because of pending legal matters.

More here

Carjacking attempt is deadly for gunman: "A trip to the store for gasoline and beef jerky near Cambridge early yesterday turned into a scuffle for a gun after a would-be carjacking, the Guernsey County sheriff said. The altercation ended with the driver wounded and the suspect, John Toubell, 44, of Antrim, dead. Toubell climbed into the back seat as the motorist, Brian Starr, was paying for fuel at a gas station at the intersection of Rt. 513 and Bridgewater Road, Sheriff Mike McCauley said. Starr, 29, of Cambridge, is in Grant Medical Center with a gunshot wound in the thigh. A steel rod has been put in his thigh because the bullet broke his leg bone in half, he said from his hospital bed last night. "Thank God I'm alive," he said. Starr had just gotten back from a softball tournament and was driving his girlfriend's car early yesterday morning. He realized he'd run the car dry, so he went to the gas station, Starr said. He pumped the gas, then went in for some beef jerky. At some point, Toubell slipped inside the car, Starr said. As Starr drove away, "I saw a head in my rear-view mirror," he said. "Then I saw the gun coming around." Starr said he wrestled for the gun with the would-be robber, and a shot hit his thigh. He managed to get the gun from Toubell and shot him three times, according to coroner Janet Brockwell. Toubell was hit at least once in the head, Starr said. An autopsy is scheduled for today. The fatal shooting appeared to be in self-defense because Toubell fired first, wounding Starr, McCauley said. Investigators think Toubell, who had a criminal past, was linked to other robberies in the area. The sheriff's office recently issued a warrant for his arrest and searched his home."

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