CBS News’ ’48 Hours Suspicion’ has done an episode detailing the investigation and court proceedings for the 2018 killing of one Steven Andrew Freeman, a 23-year-old Georgia native. Steven Freeman died on August 01, 2018, after taking a bullet to the chest. Who pulled the trigger on him? His high-school sweetheart and girlfriend of 7 years, Mary Katherine Higdon. The details of the case were contradictory in nature, the defense and the prosecution presenting opposite accounts of what happened. At the end of a week-long trial and a 4-hour-long jury deliberation, Mary Katherine was declared not guilty and acquitted of all charges. Let’s take a closer look at the details of her trial and her whereabouts today.
Who is Mary Katherine Higdon?
Mary Katherine Higdon had previously worked part-time as a preschool teaching assistant at St. George’s Episcopal School in Milner when she got charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. She was the main accused in the murder case of her long-time boyfriend Steven Freeman, having been the person who shot him in the chest. She was arrested after the police arrived at the Sunnybrook Drive home that the couple shared in Griffin, a town an hour away from Atlanta, Georgia. For the duration of her trial, Mary Katherine was incarcerated in the Spalding County Jail.
In court, friends and family of Steven Freeman told a very different version of events than that of Mary Katherine’s own account. The police report said that initially, Mary Katherine had claimed that the gun went off suddenly when she was handing it to Steven in the back room of their house. Before they arrested her, she allegedly kept saying over and over that she hadn’t shot Steven intentionally and that it was an accident. The police claimed that her story did not match the crime scene and that evidence they’d collected pointed towards an intent to kill.
The prosecution’s witness, Steven’s best friend Thomas Skinner described the victim as a loyal and hardworking country boy and Mary Katherine as an obsessive and possessive girlfriend. According to Skinner’s testimony, he claimed that Mary Katherine and Steven’s relationship had turned toxic over the last few years and that she had threatened suicide whenever Steven tried to leave her. Skinner also testified that Steven used to say that Mary Katherine was angry all the time. Another witness, Steven’s co-worker Alijah Varela claimed that Mary Katherine used to call Steven obsessively while he was at work, and had even allegedly bragged about knowing how to use a gun.
The defense painted another picture altogether. Their case was built on a self-defense angle, claiming that Steven Freeman had been a sexually and physically abusive boyfriend. Mary Katherine testified that Steven had raped her twice before and she had been scared that he was going to hurt her again on August 01, 2018, and therefore, she had acted in self-defense. The defense attorney representing Mary Katherine, public defender Michael Granims corroborated their claims of self-defense with some text messages. They also brought in an expert who claimed that Mary Katherine showed signs of the Battered Woman Syndrome. Before August 01, 2018, the police had been called to the couple’s home five times, once for domestic disturbance previously.
Where is Mary Katherine Higdon Today?
The then-24-year-old teaching aid was acquitted of all the charges against her when the jury decided that she was not guilty on any of the counts of murder and the possession of a gun. After the trial ended in her favor, Mary Katherine returned home to be with her family in Griffin, Georgia. Since then, she has kept a low profile and a virtually non-existent social media presence, probably to escape the media and public glare. Her Instagram profile is set to private and no other details of her current whereabouts are known. It can only be assumed (and hoped) that Mary Katherine has moved on from her terrible past and is living a quiet and low-profile life.
Read More: How Did Steven Andrew Freeman Die?