The court is walking a tightrope as it considers the manslaughter case of Lyvette Crespo, who was indicted by a grand jury for fatally shooting her husband Daniel, the former mayor of Bell Gardens.
In court Monday, the prosecutor's office confirmed it had offered a plea deal to Crespo, who says she was a victim of domestic abuse.
But in the last week the offer was taken off the table.
"We thought we had a deal - at some point we had a plea agreement, that had to be approved by supervisors. And it didn't work out," said Crespo's attorney, Eber Bayona.
For the older brother of the slain city official, the decision brought relief.
"I think she should go to trial and let the jury decide," said William Crespo.
Family members say they were notified last week of the potential plea which called for five years of probation and would keep Lyvette Crespo out of prison.
The defendant told police she shot Daniel Crespo three times after they argued and her husband struck her 19-year-old son.
A jury will have to decide whether Crespo acted in the passion of the moment or whether she had a plan to lash out at her husband of 28 years.
The grand jury has reviewed evidence from both sides.
It includes text messages and audio recordings of Lyvette threatening to shoot Daniel if he cheated on her.
There are also photos of Lyvette's bruised face and testimony from her children and her husband's mistresses that he assaulted them as well.
About the offer of a plea deal, Loyola Law professor Laurie Levenson says cases like this involve much more than who pulled the trigger.
"The prosecution has to be realistic," Levenson said. "Jurors are often sympathetic to arguments of domestic abuse."
A trial was set for Jan. 5, 2017.
Plea deal off the table for wife accused of shooting Bell Gardens mayor