August 31, 1996 in Nation/World

Decision To Give Girl To Murderer Upheld

Compiled From Wire Services

A Florida appeals court Friday upheld a decision by a trial judge transferring custody of a girl from her lesbian mother to her father, who served eight years in prison for murdering his first wife 22 years ago.

In a unanimous opinion, the 1st District Court of Appeal said that “competent and substantial” evidence supported the trial judge’s ruling last year that “conduct” at the mother’s house was harmful to the girl, then 11, and that she was better off living with the father.

Lawyers for the mother, Mary Frank Ward, 47, of Pensacola, said they would appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

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