Lecturer back in Scotland after US prison release

Joanna Findlay was teaching at the University of Maryland. Picture: Complimentary
Joanna Findlay was teaching at the University of Maryland. Picture: Complimentary
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A SCOTTISH university lecturer, convicted in America of the attempted murder of her husband, has returned home to Perthshire after being released early from prison.

Joanna Findlay, who is originally from Blairgowrie,was found guilty of the second-degree attempted murder of her husband, Gary Trogdon, who was found dead from a gunshot wound in October, 2010, at the couple’s home in Hollywood, Maryland.

Findlay, 42, an English lecturer at the University of Maryland, was originally charged with her husband’s murder but claimed during her trial that Mr Trogdon, a former US Air Force officer, had shot himself

when she confronted him after finding more than 3000 child porn images on his computer.

During her trial she admitted punching her husband and shooting a .22-calibre handgun into the floor during the row before fleeing their home. She said she had heard gunshots as she stood partially clothed in their driveway.

In February last year she was jailed her for a minimum of five years on a felony handgun charge, and given a five year suspended jail term for the attempted murder of her husband.

Findlay has now been deported and returned to Scotland following her release from Jessup’s Women’s Prison in Maryland. Richard Fritz, the State’s Attorney, had reopened the handgun charge and dismissed it.

He said: “It is in the interest of the people of the state of Maryland to have her leave and have this case finally put to rest.”

Findlay’s mother, Frieda, who is caring for her gravely ill husband Thomas, confirmed that her daughter had returned to Scotland.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, welcomed Findlay’s release and said that the past twelve months had been a “living nightmare” for the Findlay family.

He said: “I am very pleased for the Findlay family that we have a resolution to this case and that Joanna is now back home in Perthshire. The past year has been a living nightmare for the Findlay family and the uncertainty over her future has been very difficult to deal with.

“I have been making repeated representations on behalf of the Findlay family for the past year, working closely with the Foreign Office on this case. It would seem that the prosecuting authorities in Maryland suddenly decided to deport Joanna on condition that she drops the appeal on her conviction.”

Findlay is a graduate of Aberdeen University and Dundee College and left Scotland 15 years ago on a student exchange. She married Mr Trogdon 11 years ago.

Last April, in a bid to secure a retrial, her lawyer, Byron Warnken, has told the judge at St Mary’s County Court in Maryland that she might have been acquitted altogether if the trial’s prosecutor had not unfairly told jurors that Findlay’s sworn testimony could not be believed because she was an atheist, and said prosecutors had wrongly portrayed her as a “porno queen.”