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Self-defense argued in slaying of woman found dead in SUV

September 15, 2021 GMT

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A man charged with criminal homicide in the death of a woman whose body was found in his sport utility vehicle in northeastern Pennsylvania three years ago is arguing that her death was self-defense.

Luzerne County prosecutors characterize 42-year-old Dana Ganjeh as a jealous and abusive boyfriend who brutally killed 56-year-old Linda Frick, whose was found covered with a blanket and towels behind his Kingston apartment in August 2018.

“She was beaten to death over a period of time. Her murder wasn’t an accident,” Deputy Assistant District Attorney Thomas Hogans told jurors in his opening statement Tuesday. The victim had broken ribs, blood-filled lungs and bleeding in the brain, he said.

Prosecutors allege that the defendant wanted to silence Frick because she had reported domestic violence on his part a few months earlier. “Linda finally decided to pursue the charges,” Hogans said. “Now she’s dead.”

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But defense attorneys Demetrius Fannick and Katelyn Spellman argue that Ganjeh defended himself when Frick pulled a pocketknife during a alcohol-fueled argument at her brother’s home in Dreher Township, Wayne County.

“This was not a planned, premeditated event,” Fannick said. “It was a heat-of-passion event.”

Prosecutors are seeking a first-degree murder conviction carrying a mandatory life term without possibility of parole. Defense attorneys are seeking an acquittal or at most a third-degree murder conviction.