In 1987, Baltimore police officer Mytokia Fair shot and killed her abusive husband.
At the time, Maryland did not allow the use of battered spouse syndrome as part of a criminal defense.
But three years later, the state’s parole board ruled that Mytokia’s actions were the result of her husband’s “repeated physical and psychological abuse” and the governor commuted her sentence.
At StoryCorps, Mytokia sat down with her current husband, Thomas Fair, to talk about the events that led to her arrest.
Click here for the transcript.
MF: When the police officers got there, I, I was frantic trying to tell them, explain to them what had happened. That’s when I realized I was going to jail, was when, when they put handcuffs on me and read me my rights.
Thomas Fair (TF): Was there any time in that relationship that you could get out of it.
MF: Oh, no. I knew he would follow me. Oh I knew that. And, I thought I could change someone. I couldn’t change anyone, but myself.
TF: When you got out of prison, was there any fears of how you’re going to start your life over.
MF: Oh my god, yes, plenty of fears. I was devastated that I’m not a police officer anymore, and I lost that. But I understood what I did, I broke the law. So in breaking the law there’s consequences. So, and when I came out, I had to come out running. Had to rebuild my mind like a muscle, like your weights, like your exercise, to know how worthy that I am. That’s why I was able to allow you to come into my life.
TF: You know, I knew you’d been hurt. And, um, I wanted to be a man that you could trust.
MF: I wasn’t worried. I saw that wouldn’t hurt me. And you told me that you loved me, and I believed you.
TF: I see you as a very powerful, beautiful woman. And I wish the men before me could have seen this.
MF: Well my life is far different now. And I’m so excited of what’s to come.