Is there any way that Mary Maloney could, in a court of law, get off the hook for the murder she committed? Insanity plea? Justifiable Homicide? How would you argue a case for her?
If there is no justification, how might you argue a case against her?
I definitely agree with #2 here. Let us remember that Mary Maloney had no idea that her husband was going to leave her. She was pregnant with their first child and suspected nothing about his imminent departure. To hear this news in her tender state gives her the perfect plea of temporary insanity. I think if you read the way the murder is described this can be supported - she doesn't think about murder, it is an automatic reaction. It was definitely not premeditated.
I think I'd aim for the insanity plea. The stress of such an unexpected confession from her husband, and the way in which it was delivered, left her unable to process the information. To not even be prepared for 'bad news', as it were, Mary is blindsided with the news that he is going to leave. She can't cope, she can't understand. She snaps. It leads her to act out physically because she is unable to analyze the situation psychologically. Shock can cause people to go into states of catanoia. This happens in Mary's case; her catonic state is just one variation of that condition. It allows her to keep moving, even to allow her to go to the store, but without conscious thought. It is as though she is sleepwalking. Therefore, she can not be held responsible for her actions.