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Washington woman accused of killing husband has bail set

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 21, 2020

Associated Press

Associated Press

YAKIMA – A Washington woman has had her bail set at $25,000 on accusations of killing her husband Wednesday, a judge ruled.

Yakima County Superior Court Judge Blain Gibson’s decision Thursday was a compromise between requests from prosecutors and the defense, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported. Prosecutors requested bail be set at $1 million, while the defense argued that the woman should be released because she was a victim of domestic violence perpetrated by her then-husband.

“She is only a danger to people who beat and strangle her,” defense attorney Beth Wehrkamp said during a preliminary appearance hearing.

Wehrkamp said that the woman’s husband was out on $5,000 bail for first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and felony violation of a no-contact order with his wife when he was killed. She also said the husband had prior convictions for domestic violence, child molestation and child rape.

The day before, a county judge scheduled a September hearing to decide whether to revoke his bail for failing to appear in court.

The victim will not be identified until after an autopsy on Friday, an official said.

Police were called to the accused and the accused’s husband’s home in Yakima early morning Wednesday after a person reported that a woman had shot her husband. Police found the 51-year-old man in bed with a gunshot wound to his head, court documents said.

Police said the 41-year-old woman admitted to shooting her husband. When she was being taken from the house, she told police that she “had to do it” and that “it was the only way,” a probable cause affidavit said.

The woman told police that her husband, who was barred from contacting her, came to the house a few days before and kept her tied up and drugged her.

She told police that a pistol she took from his hand went off when he tried to pull her back, the affidavit said.

But detectives found no signs that she was tied up, the affidavit said.

“It is not as clear-cut as Ms. Wehrkamp says,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Heather Thorn said.

One of the man’s family members said during the hearing Thursday she would fear for her safety if the woman were to be released from jail.

“None of the family want that risk,” said the woman, who identified herself as a niece of the man.

The woman will be arraigned on Sept. 3.

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