Francine Hughes

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Francine Hughes (born August 1947)[1] is an American woman who, after thirteen years of domestic abuse, set fire to her ex-husband Mickey Hughes' bed, on March 9, 1977. Mickey was killed and the house destroyed in the resulting fire.[2]

On the night of the incident, Francine, who had moved back in with Mickey after he was in a serious car accident[citation needed], told her four children to put on their coats and wait in the car. She then poured gasoline around Mickey's bed and lit the gasoline on fire. The resulting fire consumed the home. In the meantime, with her children in the car, Francine drove to the police station so she could confess to the killing.

After trial in Lansing, Michigan, Francine was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.[3] It is widely believed that the judge and the jury largely sympathized with Francine and her plight and felt that the killing of her husband was justified and as a result found her not guilty.[citation needed]

Francine Hughes' story was made into a book and a subsequent film in 1984 titled The Burning Bed starring Farrah Fawcett.[4][5]

Folk singer Lyn Hardy also created a song about these events entitled "The Ballad of Francine Hughes".[6]


  1. ^ Jensen, Vickie (November 10, 2011). "Francine Hughes (1947-)". Women Criminals: An Encyclopedia of People and Issues, Volume 1, ABC-CLIO, p. 479. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  2. ^ Carr, Tom (2016). Blood on the Mitten (First ed.). Chandler Lake Books / Mission Point Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9781943338078. 
  3. ^ Carpenter, Teresa (December 31, 1989). "The Final Self-Defense". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ O'Connor, John J. (March 17, 1985). "CRITICS' CHOICES; Broadcast TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  5. ^ "This Week in Michigan History 'Burning Bed' based on woman who killed ex". Detroit Free Press, March 9, 2014 p. 13A
  6. ^ Nalepa, Laurie; Pfefferman, Richard (February 7, 2013). The Murder Mystique: Female Killers and Popular Culture. Praeger, pp. 10-11, Archived at Google Books. Retrieved February 13, 2016.

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