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WAUCHULA, Fla. -- Friends and family will gather today to remember a former Fredericksburg woman who was shot and killed here, allegedly by her husband.

Memorial services for Janette Louise Branham, 40, will be at United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg with inurnment in Rose Hill Cemetery.

An earlier service in Florida, where she lived and worked as an attorney, drew hundreds of people including a judge who spoke during the ceremony.

"She truly lived a lifetime in her 40 years," her mother, Kathy Seamans, said.

Branham was gunned down in her Wauchula home July 26.

Deputies with the Hardee County Sheriff's Office arrested her husband, Michael Branham, on a charge of first-degree murder, according to court records obtained by The Courier.

Michael Branham, a former Florida police officer, claimed he acted in self defense when his wife came at him with a pair of scissors.

But investigators believe he planted the scissors at the crime scene after he shot her 13 times with a 9 mm Glock handgun.

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Branham, whose maiden name was Seamans, graduated from Fredericksburg High School and received her bachelor's degree in business from Iowa State University in Ames. She earned her law degree from the University of Iowa in 1989 and moved to Florida that same year.

There, she worked as a prosecutor for four years before going into private practice, her mother said.

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Branham was recently elected president of the bar association in Highlands County, Florida.

Her husband is from Florida. He was retired on disability from the Avon Park Police Department in 2000, according to the News Sun newspaper.

A friend told investigators Branham had started divorce proceedings against her husband, according to court records. The friend said Branham had withdrawn $50 for her husband, but he was upset because he wanted $100.

Evidence suggests that Michael Branham was moving toward his wife as he fired, and as she was turning away from him, according to court records.

A pair of scissors found in a pool of blood had blood beneath the parts of the scissors that touch the floor, according to court records. That led investigators to believe the scissors were put there after the blood was on the floor.

Contact Jeff Reinitz at (319) 291-1578 or jeff.reinitz@wcfcourier.com.

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