|Pathology|| Alleged murderer|
Caroline Cresswell, alias Linnie Malcolm, was a victim of domestic violence and rape. She killed her first husband in self-defense.
She recounts her story to Olivia Benson after fingerprints on the Latimers' telephone matches her prints. Her first husband Vincent, a poet she met when she was 17 at an anti-war protest, viciously beat her on a regular basis. After one particular incident where he raped her repeatedly and then went to sleep, promising to give her more of what she "likes" in the morning if she was a "good girl", Caroline shot him six times with a gun he had purchased. She intended to commit murder-suicide, until the "images" of his abuse left her mind. The neighbors called the police and a stunned Caroline was arrested. While in jail, she wrote a note to the District Attorney to work out a plea bargain, but during the negotiations, she sneaked out a bathroom window and fled.
Under the alias "Linnie Malcolm", she met her current husband Jonah in a diner in 1974, three weeks after her escape from jail. Before he took her in, she was sleeping in churches and stealing food to survive, even stealing a wallet at one point. They eventually married, and bought an apartment on the Upper East side that accommodated Jonah's wheelchair. At some point, the Latimers moved in next door. Recognizing Mia as an abused woman, Caroline became her friend and confidant, but was frustrated by Mia's refusal to leave her husband for good and discreetly helped Detective Olivia Benson hide in the building to protect Mia. After Brent stabbed Mia, Benson yelled for Caroline to call 911, but to their horror, Mia died in front of them. Caroline then begged Benson to ensure Brent doesn't get away with it.
The investigation into the murder uncovered Caroline's fingerprints on the phone, linking her to the old murder case. Judge Elizabeth Donnelly, the ADA Caroline initially escaped from, prosecuted the case personally to finally get vindication by sending Caroline to prison. She was charged with Vincent's murder and escaping from prison. In court, she revealed that she only escaped to get an abortion; she couldn't bear the thought of her abuser's baby growing inside her, or having a baby in prison. While she initially was willing to make a deal with Donnelly to get the abortion, she had lost her nerve after seeing how strong Donnelly was compared to her. Caroline was eventually found not guilty of the murder but guilty of the escape. Donnelly, stating Caroline's story was a harsh reminder of why she became a lawyer in the first place, announced her intention to seek probation at sentencing, which the judge concurred with. However, Jonah left her for lying to him.