The Story of the Woman who Killed her Husband

by Staff writer

After spending nearly 10 years in an Oregon state prison for murdering
her husband, there’s one question Wendy Maldonado still can’t answer.

“I just don’t know why that night,” Wendy, 46, tells PEOPLE Magazine when
asked why – after years of relentless, sadistic abuse at the hands of
her husband – she finally decided to kill Aaron Maldonado in the early
morning hours of May 1, 2005. “I don’t know if I’ll ever have an answer
about why it happened on that night.”

Wendy is sure of one thing, however: She had to kill her husband before he killed her – and her four sons, she says.

That morning, Wendy and her then-16-year-old son Randy, slipped
into her sleeping husband’s bedroom and crushed his skull with a hatchet
and a hammer.

“If I hadn’t done this,” says Wendy, “I know we’d all be dead by now.”

Instead, she got sentenced to 10 years in prison by a judge who
described the brutality that she and her sons endured as “the worst case
of domestic violence that any of us has seen.” (Randy was sentenced to
75 months.)

Aaron and Wendy met in high school in Grants Pass, Oregon. She married
him at 17 and the abuse started shortly after. She claims he knocked out
17 of her teeth, burnt her with white-hot coat hangers and repeatedly
strangled her until she blacked out, among other forms of abuse.

Her sons were also brutalized. “I can’t ever remember a time
when he wasn’t beating us,” recalls Randy, who says his father would
regularly “punch us in the face” without the slightest provocation.

wanted to leave him, but Aaron “repeatedly threatened” to kill her and
their sons if she ever tried, graphically detailing exactly how he would
do it, she says.

“He told me that every day and that’s what I believed. And I
still believe it,” says Wendy, who will be released from Oregon’s Coffee
Creek Correctional Facility in March 2016. “I still believe it.”

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