Sharon Diane Clark, the U.S. Capitol Police officer accused of murdering her husband last March 14, was found innocent by a jury in Upper Marlboro yesterday.

Clark, 31, had admitted shooting her husband with her .38-caliber service revolver, but testified that she did so in self-defense and fear of her life as her husband came at her with clenched fists.

Her attorney, Richard Allen James, told jurors yesterday that Sharon Clark's husband, 40-year-old Carl Henry Clark, "was bound and determined to kill this woman." The husband was the real killer, James said, and not the wife.

James recalled testimony by Sharon Clark and other witnesses that her husband, whom she had met while he was a prisoner in Lorton Reformatory, turned violent when he was drinking and frequently beat her. James reminded them of the police officer's testimony that, when she said she was moving out of their Landover apartment on the evening of the shooting, Carl Clark had said that she would "not get out of here alive."

James countered prosecution arguments that Sharon Clark could have moved away from her husband long before the shooting by saying that "nobody's perfect . . . . I don't know why she didn't leave him."

But "there's a world of women," he added, "who are beaten on a monthly basis, just like Sharon Clark."

Assistant State's Attorney Bond E. Rhue, who sought to convict Sharon Clark of second-degree murder -- the term for murder without premeditation -- and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, also argued that Clark could have fired to wound rather than kill.

"She could have shot him in the leg," Rhue said. "She had the training."

After the shooting, Clark was put on administrative leave without pay , and since then has held temporary secretarial and sales-clerk jobs.

Bill McDermott, general counsel for the police, said Clark now faces an administrative hearing to decide if she should be reinstated. If she is found "not involved" in any wrongdoing, he said, she could get her job back and receive her back pay.