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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Shot to Hell


While working in his automotive shop behind his home, someone surprised and shot the 61-year-old man. The victim called 911 and told the dispatcher a man had shot him to hell. While on the call, the dispatcher heard what she thought was gunfire. He gave her his address, described the man who’d shot him and said he didn’t know the guy other than he’d been with his wife. The victim urged the dispatcher to have the response hurry. He was bleeding profusely. Then he stopped responding and only moaned.

 

When the first responding officer drove into the neighborhood, he testified he heard gunshots. He parked halfway in the driveway and waited for additional officers to arrive. As he waited, the assumed assailant walked down the driveway from the crime scene in a catatonic state. Before they found the murder weapon, which was under a vehicle, the assumed assailant told the police if they found a gun his fingerprints would be on it from a few days ago.

 

The evidence made more sense when investigators learned the victim and his wife were living apart and preparing to divorce. What looked like a he said-she said crime now had a motive. The wife stood to have more money with her husband dead than alive. The wife claimed to not know the assumed assailant and then one of the wife’s relatives told the police the wife had said she hired the assumed assailant to kill her soon-to-be ex-husband.

 

Knowing more about the contentious divorce, investigators also learned that the day after her husband died, her attorney filed a motion for her to receive all the husband’s money currently being held to complete the divorce—over $200,000.

 

The relative also told the police the wife had taken out the rear passenger seat in her car so the assailant could lie down in her car while she dropped him at her husband’s home. She knew the husband had cameras along his driveway, and she didn’t want the assumed assailant to be on video. When the detectives checked the wife’s vehicle, sure enough, someone had detached the rear seat.

 

The victim’s wife lied about knowing the assailant, and the assailant lied about knowing the wife. A forensic check of the assailant’s cell phone showed he’d been at the wife’s home many times in the weeks leading up to the shooting. It also had a recorded voice mail message the victim’s wife had left, and he had her contact information saved in his phone.

 

It turns out the wife knew the assailant because he was dating her friend—he was a homeless, low-functioning person who made an easy mark for her to convince to do her dirty work.

 

For a shorter sentence, the man who’d confessed to shooting the man he didn’t know in exchange for the victim’s wife’s vehicle, her home, and money, he testified against the wife. The court sentenced him to 30-years in prison. The 47-year-old man will be eligible for parole after 18 years.

 

At the victim’s wife’s trial, the 911 dispatcher testified to what the victim had told her and what she heard during the call. She also told the court after the call ended, she had to take a break and cried for 10 minutes—adding it was the hardest call she’d ever taken. I feel 911 dispatchers have a tremendously stressful job—they are unseen heroes and heroines.

 

In closing arguments at the wife’s trial, a prosecutor associated with the case said,

 

“[The wife] is the only one with the means, the motive, and the opportunity to cause the death of her husband.”

 

It took a jury less than one hour to deliver a guilty verdict on the wife and another thirty minutes to agree she deserved a 40-year prison sentence. The 56-year-old wife will be eligible for parole after 27 years.

 

 

Source: Arkansas Department of Corrections, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, The Sentinel-Record

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