DEDHAM, Mass. – A dominatrix was acquitted of manslaughter charges Monday in the death of a man who allegedly suffered a fatal heart attack while strapped to a replica of a medieval torture device.
The jury in Norfolk Superior Court deliberated for eight hours over two days before finding Barbara Asher, 56, not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and dismemberment.
During his closing argument, prosecutor Robert Nelson re-enacted the bondage session that allegedly killed Michael Lord, of North Hampton, N.H., in July 2000.
Donning a leather mask and speaking to the jury through the zippered mouth, he said Asher did nothing to help Lord as he flailed about and died while strapped to the rack in a makeshift “dungeon” in Asher’s Quincy condominium.
“She did nothing, nothing for five minutes,” Nelson said, his voice muffled through the mask.
It was Nelson’s theatrical closing that provided the most dramatic moments of the trial.
The prosecutor pointed and hollered at Asher. He dumped a box full of hoods, collars and paddles onto a table, and proclaimed that Asher was trying to protect her business.
“That’s why she didn’t call the police,” he said.
With both hands, he reached back and clutched the top of a blackboard to simulate Lord being strapped to the rack.
He paused as his head hung forward as if to simulate Lord’s alleged death.
Page objected, and Norfolk Superior Court Judge Charles Grabau agreed.
“That’s enough, Mr. Nelson,” the judge said. “Thank you for your demonstration.”