Francine Hughes

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Francine Hughes (born August 1947)[1] was an American battered wife who, after thirteen years of domestic abuse, set her ex-husband's bed area of his room aflame killing him while he slept on March 9, 1977. Mickey Hughes was killed and the house destroyed in the resulting inferno.

Francine Hughes, who had moved back in with him (Mickey) after he was in a serious car accident, told her four children to put on their coats and wait in the car. She then started a fire with gasoline poured around her sleeping ex-husband's bed. The house burst into flames as she drove, with her children in the car, to the police station so she could confess to the killing.

After trial in Lansing, Hughes was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.[2] It is widely believed that the Judge and the Jury largely sympathized with Hughes and her plight and felt that the murder of her husband was justified and as a result found her not guilty.

Hughes' story was made into a book and a subsequent film in 1984 titled The Burning Bed starring Farrah Fawcett.[3][4] Folk singer Lyn Hardy also created a song about these events entitled "The Ballad of Francine Hughes".[5]


  1. ^ Biography of Francine Hughes
  2. ^ Carpenter, Teresa (1989-12-31). "The Final Self-Defense". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  3. ^ O'Connor, John J. (1985-03-17). "CRITICS' CHOICES; Broadcast TV". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  4. ^ Detroit Free Press, Sunday, March 9, 2014 Page 13A "This Week in Michigan History "Burning Bed" based on woman who killed ex".
  5. ^ Interview and performance with Lyn Hardy about "The Ballad of Francine Hughes" on YouTube.