Woman accused of fatally shooting husband

September 5, 2009 5:07:53 PM PDT
Charges are pending against a wife who is accused of shooting and killing her husband while he was lying in bed. Investigators say the couple had been fighting last night at their home near Lumber Ridge Trail and Rural Oak in southeast Houston.

Detectives say Sandra Martinez called 911 moments after shooting her husband and confessed to the crime. Neighbors say she told them, too, that she'd killed him. But while it seems there's little doubt in investigators' minds as to who did this. There are big questions about why.

Neighbors say they heard the sound of a single gunshot, followed by the scream of the woman detectives say fired it.

"It's a big surprise, big surprise," said neighbor Roberto Chavez.

Chavez says he knows both Sandra Martinez and Cesar Barrera, but told us that if the two had marital problems, they kept it to themselves. He says he can't imagine why a seemingly happy wife would so suddenly turn on a father of four.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I can't believe it."

Moments after the gunfire, next door neighbors say Martinez appeared at their home visibly upset and saying she'd just shot her husband. They didn't want to appear on camera, but told us she brought them to her house, where they tried to save Barrera, even as he lay gasping for air with a gunshot wound to the head.

"She claims it was an accident," said Detective Richard Houghton with the Houston Police Department.

Neighbors say Martinez never told them how the gun went off. But they say as she waited for an ambulance, she knelt at her husband's side, repeatedly telling him she was sorry.

Detectives say Martinez waited for them at her home, where she was later arrested. Neighbors say the couple does have two children about one and two years old, who were with their grandmother Friday night. Cesar Barrera apparently also had two slightly older children from another relationship, who were with their mother last night. We're told, in fact, he was supposed to spend Saturday watching his oldest son's football game.

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