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September 26, 2022

Aptos murder suspect pleads not guilty

Attorney: she was defending herself from husband

SANTA CRUZ—The woman accused of stabbing her husband to death in their home in the Aptos Hills on Aug. 24 was defending herself at the time of the attack, her attorney told reporters Thursday.

Amanda Owens, 51, pleaded not guilty to murder charges during a brief hearing, when Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge John Salazar partially lifted a protective order and allowed her to return home.

But he kept an order in place forbidding her from contact with her children, a 22-year-old son, who is severely disabled, and a 17-year-old daughter. She returns to court on Oct. 18 to ask for supervised visits with the kids.

Owens and her husband, Thomas Owens, 63, were caretakers for their son, who cannot speak and is confined to a wheelchair.

“This has been a tragic event all the way around. It’s been devastating to Amanda not to be able to have contact with her children,” said her attorney George Gigarjian.

Gigarjian said the murder charges are inappropriate and pointed out that Owens called 911 after the attack and performed lifesaving techniques while she waited for paramedics to arrive.

“We believe there is substantial evidence of an ongoing, abusive relationship,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the entire family. Amanda certainly did not mean to kill her husband or the father of her children.”

Owens has been charged with murder and using a weapon during a felony. She faces as much as 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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