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Warren County wife’s sentencing sets stage for husband’s capital murder trial

The wife of a South Lebanon man who could face the death penalty in connection with the beating death of his sister was sentenced on Thursday, setting the stage for a capital murder trial later this year.

Judge Donald Oda II sentenced Jacqueline Kirby, 31, to three years on probation for her part in the case and ordered her to enter the Women’s Recovery Center, an outpatient substance abuse program in Xenia.

Kirby and her husband, Christopher Kirby, 38, were arrested on Sept. 15 after Debra Power, his adoptive sister, and her husband, Ronnie Power, were found at the home they shared with the Kirbys in South Lebanon after a 911 call from an 8-year-old boy.

RELATED: 8-year-old called 911 after latest deadly domestic violence

Debra Power, 63, died, but her husband survived with serious injuries from beatings allegedly from Christopher Kirby. The alleged violence was prompted by the Kirbys’ inability to use the Powers’ bank card to draw money to buy heroin, according to testimony in Jacqueline Kirby’s trial in February.

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In addition to capital murder charges, Christopher Kirby is charged with felonious assault, aggravated robbery, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

Initially implicated in the killings, Jacqueline Kirby faced no more than one year of jail or prison time for receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards, the charges she was convicted of in February.

With credit for time served, she still faces five months in jail if she fails to complete the treatment program. Oda also barred her from contact with the surviving victim or family, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said.

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After the beatings, the Kirbys used Debra Power’s credit cards and a TV taken from Ronnie Power’s room to get heroin they used before being arrested, according to testimony in the February trial.

At trial, Jacqueline Kirby was found guilty of receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards, but not guilty of tampering with evidence.

Oda ruled Assistant County Prosecutor John Arnold failed to prove Kirby was guilty of the tampering charge that alleged she disposed of Debra Power’s purse.

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Both sides rested after a video of Jacqueline Kirby’s statement was played, during which she struggled to recall what happened.

“I was pretty high,” she told detectives who encouraged her to cooperate so she could face lesser charges and get back with her two children.

She was led back to jail after the verdict, but Oda said he wanted her assessed for placement in community-based corrections before deciding her punishment.

RELATED: Brother faces death penalty for sister’s murder

On Thursday, her lawyer, Tamara Sack, said the sentencing - initially scheduled for Friday - was moved up due to a scheduling conflict she had.

It was unclear if Jacqueline Kirby would testify against her husband in a two-week trial in Oda’s court, scheduled to begin on Oct. 22.

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