Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer Testifies at Murder Hearing; Eye Doctor's Wife Was Joking about Money Payoff, Divorce Attorney Says

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer Testifies at Murder Hearing; Eye Doctor's Wife Was Joking about Money Payoff, Divorce Attorney Says

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

WAYCROSS - Four days before fatally shooting her former husband, Betty Jo Jacobs told him he didn't have enough money to pay her to leave him alone, her divorce attorney testified during a Tuesday hearing.

But lawyer Andy Spivey, who is also representing Jacobs in her murder trial, insisted Tuesday she was only joking.

Jacobs, 66, has pleaded not guilty to malice murder, felony murder and firearm charges in the killing of 68-year-old L. Davis Jacobs on Aug. 24 . The ophthalmologist was gunned down in his medical office near Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross as patients waited for their appointments with him.

Her trial was postponed from Sept. 8 at the request of her attorneys, John Thigpen and Spivey, who told Chief Superior Court Judge Dwayne Gillis they needed more time to properly prepare her defense.

Thigpen and Spivey previously notified the judge that Jacobs' defense will be battered spouse syndrome.

On Tuesday, Jacobs watched with her hands folded in her lap as Spivey testified during a two-hour hearing to determine whether he will be disqualified from representing her in the murder case.

District Attorney Rick Currie has asked the judge to disqualify Spivey because he was present when Jacobs made the comment to her former husband during an Aug. 20 meeting at Spivey's law office.

Currie asserted Spivey is the only witness available to testify to the conversation because Davis Jacobs is dead, and prosecutors can't force Jacobs to testify because of her constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Because prosecutors plan to call Spivey to testify against his client, he should withdraw voluntarily or be disqualified, Currie argued.

Currie also contends Spivey should be disqualified because the police investigation indicates Jacobs was using him to get money from her ex-husband following the couple's May 2, 2007, divorce.

"This man [Spivey] was hounding Dr. Jacobs for money," Currie told the judge "It's going to come out at trial that there is evidence Betty Jacobs was pilfering checks from Dr. …

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