Judge acquits Fort Smith man in wife's death

FORT SMITH (AP) - A Fort Smith man charged in the fatal stabbing of his pregnant wife has been acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect.

On Thursday, Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge James Cox acquitted James Herring in the May 2012 fatal stabbing of his wife, 32-year-old Celestia Duffin. Authorities say Celestia Duffin collapsed in the lobby of the Fort Smith Police Department just after asking for help.

Duffin's baby, Keegan Wayne Herring, was delivered by C-section but died before he could be transferred to Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Prosecutors charged Herring with two counts of capital murder and announced plans to seek the death penalty. The Southwest Times Records reports the judge committed Herring to the custody of the Arkansas State Hospital for treatment.

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