WHEN A TEACHER KILLS HER HUSBAND WITH A HATCHET, HER FATE IS IN THE HANDS OF THEIR TWO SONS, WHO TELL VERY DIFFERENT STORIES �
�48 HOURS MYSTERY� SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Nancy Seaman, a suburban Detroit elementary school teacher, killed her husband, Bob, with a hatchet in May 2004. Nancy says she killed him in self-defense and that she had been abused for more than 30 years. At Nancy�s murder trial, the couple�s youngest son testified on behalf of his mother, while the other son says his mother was never abused and that she simply �snapped.� Contributor Maureen Maher reports for 48 HOURS MYSTERY: �Blood Feud,� to be broadcast Saturday, April 9 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The Seamans lived in a very exclusive neighborhood in Farmington Hills, Mich., and seemed to have everything, including classic cars, a plane and a boat. Bob was a highly regarded engineer for Ford Motor Company and later Borg Warner. Nancy went from homemaker to award-winning teacher. But beneath the perfect family fa�ade, Nancy claims there was mental and physical abuse from her husband that she went to great lengths to hide -- even from her own sons. �If my sons knew [about the abuse], they�d hate their father and I couldn�t let them hate him. I wanted them to love him,� says Nancy.
During Mother�s Day weekend 2004, the Seamans were on the verge of divorce. Nancy claims that�s when Bob abused her for the last time. Nancy says Bob cut her hand with a kitchen knife and, when she tried to flee, he knocked her down and shoved her to the ground in the garage. She says, fearing for her life, she grabbed a hatchet, which she had just purchased at a nearby Home Depot, and fought back. Nancy struck her husband some three dozen times � with the hatchet and then a knife.
After the killing, Nancy didn�t call her sons or the police; instead she drove to school to teach her fourth-grade class. A few days later, the police went to the Seaman�s home after receiving several calls that Bob was missing. In the Seaman�s driveway, officers found Bob�s body in Nancy�s SUV.
The couple�s youngest son, Greg, 23, who testified for the defense, says of his father�s behavior, �It was always very abusive. I mean, it was very aggressive�.� He also says, �I couldn�t picture her killing him. Him attacking her instantly popped into my mind.�
The oldest son, Jeff, 25, who testified for the prosecution, contradicts Greg on almost every point. He says of his father, �My dad would not have been my best friend if he had ever struck my mom.� In addition he says, �You know what really hurts me the most about the battered wife defense is of everything I know [of my mom], she was not a battered wife.�
How could the Seaman�s two grown children, living in the same house, offer such conflicting versions of what happened? The sons� testimony would be at the center of the trial, and so would the hatchet. Just when did Nancy buy it? Did she plan to kill her husband, or was if really self-defense after years of abuse? But the drama doesn�t end with the verdict; the judge reaches a surprising conclusion about the case.
48 HOURS MYSTERY: �Blood Feud� is produced by Nancy Kramer, Lourdes Aguiar and Taigi Smith. Katie Boyle is the senior editor and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.