Jury finds former Wake County teacher guilty of first-degree murder

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Wake County jury found Joanna Madonna guilty of first-degree murder Monday in the death of her husband Jose Perez two years ago.

Madonna sat looking straight ahead as the verdict was read. One of her relatives was escorted out of the courtroom for an outburst.

Madonna had admitted to stabbing Perez on Father's Day weekend in 2013, but claimed she did it in self-defense.

During closing arguments, her defense attorney reiterated its case, saying Madonna never wanted her husband dead.

However, the prosecution picked apart Madonna's statements during its closing arguments - calling her testimony "evil fairy tales."

Last week, Madonna was grilled by prosecutors when she took the witness stand about her relationship with her husband before she stabbed him to death. Madonna testified she didn't plan on killing Perez, but she had to to protect herself.

She told jurors that Perez pulled out a gun when she told him she wanted a divorce and shot himself in the face and arm.

Jose Perez

She also testified that she was taking him to the VA hospital for treatment when they got into a struggle and Perez allegedly pulled out a knife.

However, Perez's doctor previously told the court that he was too frail and sickly to hurt anyone.

Madonna was sentenced to life in prison.

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