Federal Appeals Court Overturns Decision to Grant New Trial to Farmington Hills Teacher Convicted for Killing Husband

In 2004, Nancy Seaman killed her husband who had, according to Seaman, battered her; she reportedly killed Robert Seaman one morning before going to school where she was a teacher. Seaman allegedly stabbed her husband 21 times and struck him with a hatchet 16 times in the garage of their Farmington Hills home. She is currently serving a life sentence after jurors in her 2005 trial found Seaman guilty of first-degree murder.

According to news reports Seaman never denied killing her husband, but said that she was a victim of both physical and emotional abuse, and that her husband had threatened her the day of the murder. When Seaman could not find a substitute to take her place that day, she went on to school, returning later in the day to get rid of the blood stains in the garage with bleach, and to wrap her husband’s body in a tarp, which she then placed in the trunk of her car.

In October of 2010, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman stated that Seaman’s defense attorney did not do enough to fully develop Seaman’s claim that she was a battered spouse. Seaman was granted a new trial at that time, however an appeals court panel determined last week that Friedman’s view of the case was too broad. The decision to grant her a new trial was overturned by a federal appeals court last week.

It was noted by the appeals court panel that in the initial trial, Seaman’s attorney did bring forth expert witnesses who talked about BSS (battered spouse syndrome), and that BSS was presented as a defense. However, the court stated that under Michigan law, battered spouse syndrome is not a viable defense. When the decision to grant Seaman a new trial was overturned last week, the ruling said that, “Even if the jurors believed that Seaman was a battered spouse, they still could have rejected her claim of self-defense.”

Michigan murder appeals attorneys understand that cases such as this are quick to be picked up by the media. It is a prosecutor’s job to get a conviction; this is first priority. However, there are mitigating circumstances in which even an individual who has already been convicted deserves another chance.


If you have been convicted on charges of murder, it does not necessarily mean you must spend a substantial number of years or even life in prison. Consult with a skilled Michigan post-conviction defense lawyer who will work vigorously to give you a second chance at freedom.