On May 1, 2011, Lena Kasparian killed her partner with a kitchen knife.
During the trial, and the intense media coverage around it, she was dubbed “Australia’s Black Widow”.
But Kasparian’s story, and the motive for the murder, are far more complicated than what a 30 second soundbite could ever capture.
On the night of the incident, Kasparian picked up the knife to protect herself, and her children, from her violent partner.
The couple had just returned to their Wetherill Park home, in Sydney’s south-west, after attending a first birthday party at the Belrose Hotel.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Kasparian’s partner, Marc Zartarian, was acting drunk and aggressive towards her.
Zartarian, 33, then repeatedly beat Kasparian over the head with a saucepan.
When Kasparian, also 33, picked up the knife, Zartarian moved towards her yelling: “Stab me, stab me, just do it, just do it!”
He then stepped forward and the blade penetrated his chest by just 14 millimetres.
Kasparian then locked herself in the bathroom while Zartarian paced around the house making a series of phone calls.
When he complained that he was having difficulty breathing, Kasparian came out of the bathroom and called the emergency services.
The wound, although tiny, had pierced Zartarian’s heart and he died later that night. On the day of Zartarian’s funeral, Kasparian was charged with his murder.
Tara Brown talks to “Australia’s Black Widow”…
On Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes, aptly named 14mm, Kasparian talks to Tara Brown about that night and what it was like to be labelled a “black widow” by the Australian public.
“There was no force,” Kasparian tells Brown about the moment the knife entered Zartarian.
“He was alive. He wasn’t dead. There was no blood gushing anywhere, there was nothing.
“It was just a tiny little cut. Fourteen millimetres.”
Brown will then play Kasparian’s desperate call to emergency services. She’ll also talk to Kasparian’s daughter, who was just five years old at the time, and who witnessed the entire incident.
In the aftermath of Zartarian’s death and during the trial, Kasparian attracted anger from the Australian public, rather than sympathy.
Her high fashion wardrobe and stoic attitude made many believe she was a cold-blooded killer, rather than a victim of domestic violence.
“It does hurt when people say nasty things about you and call you a murderer when you know you’re not,” Kasparian tells Brown on the program.
When Brown asks why Kasparian thinks the public reacted the way they did, she responds that she believes that it’s because she didn’t put on an act.
“Am I supposed to wail and cry like a crazy person to make people feel sorry for me?” she says.
“I’m not going to behave in a manner that I don’t normally. I’m not going to be someone I’m not just to prove a point.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Kasparian pleaded not guilty to murdering Zartarian on the grounds of self defense.
She was eventually found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter.
This episode of 60 Minutes airs at 8.30pm on Sunday night on Channel Nine.