California woman convicted in husband’s hammer death gets virus-related temporary release: reports

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A California woman convicted of beating her husband with a hammer, strangling him and then dumping his body just before Valentines Day in 2000 has been granted a temporary release from prison because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports.

Jane Dorotik, now 73, has been serving a 25-years-to-life sentence since her conviction in 2001 in the beating and strangulation murder of her husband Robert Dorotik, who was 55, City News Service reported.

While on release, Dorotik will live with her sister and look to have her conviction overturned, her attorneys told the news service.


Prosecutors argued that Dorotik, of Valley Center near San Diego, killed her husband because she feared she would have to pay him 40 percent of her income if they were to divorce, the news service reported.

But Dorotik’s defense lawyers say most of the blood stains found at the crime scene were never tested – and were never even confirmed to be blood. In addition, they say recently completed DNA testing shows no sign of Jane Dorotik’s DNA on evidence collected in the case, such as a rope, the victim’s clothing and fingernails.

“I think the DNA evidence that excluded Jane as a contributor may have helped persuade the court that she will likely prevail on her petition, once the court is able to hold a hearing,” staff attorney Nikki Herst-Cook said. “Despite numerous items of evidence being submitted for DNA testing, there is simply no evidence tying Jane to this crime.”

Dorotik is expected to be released Wednesday and must stay in self-quarantine for two weeks, then must remain in California and wear a GPS ankle monitor, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The woman had been a high-level executive for a mental-health services company and reported her husband missing Feb. 13, 2000. She said she last saw her husband when he was preparing to go jogging, the newspaper reported.


She has been held in the California Institution for Women, where one inmate and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to City News Service. The facility shares staff with a men’s prison that has the highest number of coronavirus cases among the state’ prisons, the report added.

Dorotik is scheduled to return to court in about 30 days for a status hearing on her case, the report said.