VoyUser Login optional ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345678910 ]
Subject: Francine Hughes Wilson, who inspired 'The Burning Bed,'

Dies at 69
[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]
Date Posted: Thursday, March 30, 04:28:56pm


For more than 12 years, Francine Hughes endured physical abuse at the hands of James "Mickey" Hughes.

It was 40 years ago March 9, that Hughes walked into the Ingham County Jail in Mason and confessed that, fearing for her life, she had set fire to her home in Dansville, where her ex-husband was sleeping.

A jury of 10 women and two men found her not guilty by reason of insanity in the first-degree murder of Hughes, which became a turning point in the growing movement against domestic violence.

The case inspired a bestselling book, a movie, a folk song and a hit for country star Martina McBride ("Independence Day").


On March 22, Francine Wilson — she had taken the last name of her second husband — died in Leighton, Alabama. She was 69.

Francine had four children with Mickey: Christy, James, Dana and Nicole. Her obituary also lists a fifth child, Molly Wilson.

She divorced Mickey Hughes in 1971 but he moved back in with her after being seriously injured in a car wreck.

On the day Mickey Hughes died, two police officers had been called to the home in response to a domestic quarrel complaint. Deputies testified that Hughes told his wife "it was all over for her" because she called the police, was verbally abusing her, made numerous threats that he would kill her and threatened deputies, as well.

That day, Francine Hughes said, he beat her viciously and forbade her from going back to business school.

The two oldest children testified that he beat her, would swear at her, would rip the phone out of the wall and that they often fled when he was drunk.

Francine Hughes and her lawyer, Arjen Greydanus, going into the courtroom before the verdict, Nov. 3, 1977. (Photo: Lansing State Journal file photo)
Her attorney, Arjen Greydanus, told the court that Mickey Hughes was a persistent wife beater, that the beatings took place even after the marriage was dissolved and that Hughes threatened to kill her on numerous occasions.

There were few, if any, shelters for women back then. No safe place for her to run to.

Francine's story became the basis of the book, "The Burning Bed" and then on Oct. 8, 1984, NBC premiered the movie “The Burning Bed” starring Farah Fawcett and Paul Lemat.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help with expenses of Francine's funeral: https://www.gofundme.com/expenses-francine-hughes-wilson

[ Next Thread | Previous Thread | Next Message | Previous Message ]

Subject Author Date
PicLinkFriday, March 31, 11:19:49am

VoyUser Login ] Not required to post.
Post a public reply to this message | Go post a new public message
* HTML allowed in marked fields.
Message subject (required):

Name (required):

  E-mail address (optional):

* Type your message here:

Choose Message Icon: [ View Emoticons ]

Notice: Copies of your message may remain on this and other systems on internet. Please be respectful.

[ Contact Forum Admin ]

Forum timezone: GMT-8
VF Version: 3.00b, ConfDB:
Before posting please read our privacy policy.
VoyForums(tm) is a Free Service from Voyager Info-Systems.
Copyright © 1998-2017 Voyager Info-Systems. All Rights Reserved.