2007_02_odierno.JPGAfter a long trial that delved into a very troubled marriage, a jury acquitted 73-year-old Ben Odierno in the stabbing death of his wife Christine. The jury deliberated for four hours, coming back with the not guilty verdict which made Odierno cry. The senior has been in jail for 21 months, and told reporters, "I feel like I'm back again - from heaven to hell and back."

Christine Odierno had presented her husband with divorce papers in their East 84th Street townhouse in 2005. They were arguing, and Christine Odierno died after being stabbed 40 times, but not before telling police "My husband stabbed me." Odierno claimed that Christine stabbed him first (he was stabbed 8 times) and he stabbed her in self-defense. The prosecutors had claimed he killed her, angry over the divorce and how that would affect their $10 million in property, and stabbed himself to make it look like she attacked him.

One juror told the Daily News there was "reasonable about intent," while others told the Times they believed both spouses were emotionally abused in the relationship. They also questioned the prosecution's strategy. While Odierno, his sons, and others testified about Christine Odierno's extreme moods and rage, the prosecution had few character witnesses; the jury even wondered when the victim's sister weren't called to testify even though they were in the courtroom. One juror, Miri Samuel, said about Odierno, "He was a simple, decent man who tried to live a simple, happy life."

The Post reported that Odierno celebrated with his family and friends at Lusardi's and gave this shout-out: "I'm all for the boys in the Tombs!"