The designation "Manslaughter in the first degree" would most likely be known as "voluntary manslaughter" today. While the law regarding murder and manslaughter varies somewhat from one state to another, in general the charges range from capital or aggravated murder to premeditated murder to second degree murder to voluntary manslaughter to involuntary manslaughter, depending on the circumstances involved, and the laws of the state in which the crime occurred. In this case, Martha, undoubtedly in fear of her life, felt compelled to take the terrible step of ending the life of the man she was married to. Today, the laws are such that a claim of self-defense might well be entertained by the courts in a case such as this. The good part of this tragic story was that she WAS finally pardoned, and had a chance to start a new life--a life that was hopefully peaceful, free from domestic strife, and noteworthy in that it did point out the need for separate facilities for women prisoners, thereby initiating a much-needed penal reform throughout the United States, as well as in Missouri.