BUTLER — A bedridden woman convicted of murdering her husband in "cold blood" has won an appeal for early release decades ahead of schedule thanks to a relatively new law.

While court documents do not include the inmate's name, the included details point to Amalia Mirasola. An all-woman jury convicted Mirasola on a first-degree murder charge for fatally shooting her husband Carl in 2010.

Mirasola, of Butler, used a handgun to shoot her husband six times. The murder rocked the small Morris County borough that at the time had a population of fewer than 8,000 people.

The mother of three was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and wheelchair-bound before the killing. Her condition has steadily declined over the past decade and she is now in the end-stage of the disease.

Mirasola, 56, has lost all movement in three limbs and requires 24-hour daily medical care, according to court documents. Based on her condition, Monday's ruling approved her request for early compassionate release.

In February 2021, a new statute loosened restrictions for early release to include inmates convicted of murder and manslaughter. Monday's decision said the statute under the Criminal Release Act "left the court without any discretion to deny defendant's petition."

"The CRA also eliminates the medical parole statute's disqualification of inmates based on the crimes for which they are serving sentences," the decision states. "Thus, inmates serving sentences for any crime in our Criminal Code, including murder, are eligible for release under the CRA."

Mirasola has served eight years of her forty-year sentence at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. She is eligible for parole at the end of 2046, meaning the ruling gets her out of Edna Mahan more than two decades earlier than previously possible.

The decision overturns a prior appeal from June 2021 denying early release for Mirasola. Last year, state Superior Court Judge Robert Hanna found the severity of the murder outweighed her condition.

Hanna wrote that the murder was "premeditated, calculated and committed in cold blood." He added that carrying out the killing while their children were home was "particularly depraved and heinous."

The judge had also taken into account statements from all three of the couple's children objecting to her release. They called her "violent" and "physically and mentally abusive," according to the Daily Record.

Those same children also called their father "loving and caring." The statements seemingly contradict Mirasola's claim that she shot her husband to stop him from abusing one of their daughters.

However, Hanna at the time conceded that Mirasola was physically incapable of committing another crime. He also agreed that her illness has worsened during her time behind bars.

Both are requirements under the statute for a prisoner to be eligible for early release. Monday's ruling states that Hanna should have only considered these factors and not the crime or input from the children.

The appeals court's most recent ruling will not be finalized for 10 days. This gives state prosecutors the chance to try to bring the matter before the state Supreme Court.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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