Widow Cleared Of Arsenic Murder To Sue Accusers

Cynthia Sommer Spent More Than Two Years Behind Bars

There are bombshell accusations in the case of a Marine widow released after charges of killing her husband were dropped, 10News' Michael Chen reported Wednesday.

Cynthia Sommer spent more than two years behind bars before she was cleared. 10News has learned she is now going after her accusers. On Wednesday night only 10News had obtained a copy of the multi-million dollar lawsuit Sommer's attorneys are filing.

A joyful Cynthia Sommer said last year, after her release, "I really can't believe I'm standing outside the jail right now."

It was disbelief for the Marine widow convicted of poisoning her husband with arsenic before buying breast implants with the insurance money. When new tests on preserved tissue samples revealed no arsenic, she walked out a free woman.

The people who helped put her behind bars -- military and county officials -- are now the target of a $15 million lawsuit. According to a draft copy, prosecutors knew plenty.

The suit cites sloppy lab work that likely contaminted the tissue samples, including some that "disappeared altogether."

The suit further accuses investigators and prosecutors of ignoring a string of experts who didn't believe the arsenic theory because arsenic should have been found in more samples.

Sommer's criminal lawyer Allen Bloom, who is not involved in the civil suit, said, "And everyone told them you've got it wrong... and yet they still went ahead with the prosecution."

The suit points much of the blame at prosecutors with "political ambitions," including District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. The suit claims she made a trip to the lab before Sommer's arrest and saw the untested samples but never tested them.

"That's abuse of their discretion, that's a plain mistake," Bloom said.

Prosecutors have maintained those samples weren't tested because they believed the tests showing arsenic were reliable. The DA's office declined comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed in less than two weeks. Around the same time Sommer's criminal lawyers will also head to court to ask the judge to dismiss the criminal case without prejudice, meaning Sommer can't be charged again.

10News has learned that Cynthia Sommer is now living in Michigan where she's working and taking classes at night. She has custody of two of her four children.

Because her case was not dismissed without prejudice she's having trouble getting custody of her other two children.

Sommer's lawyers have advised her not to comment on the impending lawsuit.