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Tuesday, November 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Cheney man who allegedly killed wife with ice cream moves to Oklahoma, pleads not guilty to new murder charge

UPDATED: Thu., July 4, 2019

David L. Pettis, left, appears in Spokane County Superior Court on a new murder charge in July 2019. He now  lives in Oklahoma, according to his defense attorney. He is accused of poisoning his wife in June 2018. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)
David L. Pettis, left, appears in Spokane County Superior Court on a new murder charge in July 2019. He now lives in Oklahoma, according to his defense attorney. He is accused of poisoning his wife in June 2018. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)

A man suspected of killing his wife last year at their Cheney home with poisoned ice cream pleaded not guilty to a new murder charge Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court.

In June of last year, David L. Pettis, 58, allegedly gave his wife, Peggy Pettis, ice cream laced with a lethal dose of pain medication that was not prescribed to her, according to court documents.

Pettis was arrested in October on a murder charge. But the case was dropped in December after investigators said they needed to gather more evidence. A new murder charge was filed last month.

Since December, Pettis moved to Oklahoma. He commutes to work in Arkansas, according to his defense attorney. Prosecutors agreed to allow travel to the three states as part of the release conditions.

Pettis agreed to travel to Spokane for the trial dates and will next appear in Spokane County Superior Court for his trial on Nov. 4.

Part of the release conditions allowed Pettis to have contact with his two adult children, but a representative for Pettis’ son, also named David, asked the judge not to allow communication between the two. The judge, Michelle Szambelan, agreed.

Pettis and his attorney refused to give a statement to The Spokesman-Review.

Prosecutors dropped the earlier charges in December after they determined they didn’t have enough evidence and were waiting on third parties involved with search warrants to complete work. It’s not clear what new evidence was found, and prosecuting attorney Sharon Hedlund could not comment on the case, she said.

Three days before her death, Peggy Pettis secured a life-insurance policy and named her husband as the sole beneficiary, according to court documents. He was also involved in an affair before and after Peggy Pettis’ death, court documents stated.

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