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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Athena Wortham, Woman Who Killed Intruder Who Choked Her, Is Accused of Murder

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 11:55 AM

click to enlarge Is self defense murder?
  • Is self defense murder?

Athena Wortham was asleep in her home on Sunday morning when she woke up to find an intruder allegedly trying to strangle her. She did what anyone who was fighting for their life might do -- she killed him.

But now an apparent act of self defense has landed her in jail. San Francisco police said they arrested 42-year-old Wortham on suspicion of murder.

"I'm not sure exactly why, but as of now she is charged with murder," says Officer Carlos Manfredi. "The inspectors have to look into whether she was a victim or a suspect -- or both."

Wortham was asleep inside her Bayview home on the 700 block of Kirkwood Avenue at about 4:47 a.m. when she heard noises. She woke up and allegedly found 40-year-old Anthony Payne strangling her. Manfredi said she grabbed a knife and stabbed him to death.

While she told police she was acting in self defense, there was enough reason for inspectors to believe she murdered him, he said.

"As long as you are in danger you have the right to protect yourself," Manfredi told us. "All I can say is it is an active investigation."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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