Prosecutors determine Kansas woman fatally shot husband in self defense, bring no charges

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No charges will be brought against a Leavenworth County woman who fatally shot her husband last fall in self defense, the county attorney announced Tuesday.

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson wrote in a letter saying that the woman had caused the death of her husband only to defend herself.

“Due to the fact that she was acting in self defense, no charges are warranted, nor will be filed against” her, Thompson wrote.

The Star is not naming the woman, who is a victim of domestic violence, as she was not charged in the death of her husband.

The fatal shooting occurred Oct. 16, 2021 at the couple’s home in Leavenworth County. The wife called 911 and reported that she had shot her husband in the chest.

The Leavenworth County Sheriff’s office responded and found her holding a semi-automatic pistol and a cell phone. Deputies observed that her mouth was bloody and her left eye was almost swollen shut. She also had injuries to her face, ribs and a possible broken ankle, according to Thompson’s letter.

When deputies went inside, they found her husband lying on the ground near the door. He made an obscene comment and gesture to the officers when they attempted first aid. He later died from his injuries.

During questioning, the woman said that they had been married for 16 years. Her husband had been physically and verbally abusive for a long time, including beating on her in the days leading up to the shooting, according to the letter.

He had returned on Oct. 14 after being gone two weeks for work. He began drinking and verbally abusing her again. The drinking continued the next day and he became heavily intoxicated and erratic, she told investigators.

At one point, she went to bed and woke to him shaking it. He began hitting their dogs and when she tried protecting them, he hit her, she said. Her husband then gave her a gun and told her to shoot him. After he left the room, she hid the gun.

When he returned, the physical abuse continued. At one point, he threw her against the wall and bed and dragged her to the living room where he hit her so hard she doesn’t remember anything, she told investigators.

She woke as he placed her on the couch. He then put a handgun to her head and threatened to kill her. He then fired a shot into the couch.

Her husband then got a shower curtain and sleeping bag and forced her to lay on it with him. He threatened to burn down the house, kill her father, burn her and then kill himself, according to the letter.

When he went to the garage to get what she believed was a gas can, she retrieved the gun she had hidden and tried to run out the front door.

According to the letter, her husband grabbed her by her ankle and then dragged her back into the house by her hair. He pinned her against the wall, holding her throat. She told investigators that she felt like she was losing consciousness. When he started hitting her, she fired the gun until “it was just clicking.”

She called 911 after the shooting and asked a dispatcher what she needed to do to administer aid. She told the dispatcher she feared he was going to kill her.

Deputies noted that their bedroom showed signs of a struggle and that they found blood on the walls and the bed. They found the sleeping bag and shower curtain on the floor as well a bullet hole in the couch. They also found gas cans in the kitchen.

The sheriff’s department reviewed all of the phones and computers and found no suspicious evidence.

Thompson wrote in the letter that “there is no issue in proving that (the woman) committed a homicide.” The coroner’s report indicates he died of a gunshot wound and she admitted to shooting her husband.

“The issue of consideration is: Did (the woman) act in self-defense?” Thompson wrote. “The torture (the woman) described in the days, and immediate minutes before she shot (her husband) equated to self-defense.”

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