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Francine Hughes was a battered wife who, after thirteen years of domestic abuse, set her husband aflame while he slept on March 9, 1977. James Hughes was killed and the house destroyed in the resulting inferno.

Hughes told her children to put on their coats and wait in the car. She then started a fire with gasoline poured around her sleeping husband's bed. The house burst into flames as she and the children drove to the local police station to confess.

After trial in Lansing, Hughes was found not guilty by reason of insanity.[1]

Hughes' story was made into a book and a subsequent film in 1984 titled The Burning Bed starring Farrah Fawcett.[2] Folk singer Lyn Hardy also created a song about these events entitled "The Ballad of Francine Hughes". [3]


  1. Carpenter, Teresa (1989-12-31). "The Final Self-Defense". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  2. O'Connor, John J. (1985-03-17). "CRITICS' CHOICES; Broadcast TV". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  3. Youtube interview and performance with Lyn Hardy about "The Ballad of Francine Hughes".


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