A judge set 27-year-old Dabreon Banks' bond at $75,000. He is charged with the murder of his common law wife Kimberly Hernandez.
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A man charged with murder, who claims his common-law wife killed herself as they argued in east Harris County, appeared in court Wednesday morning.
Dabreon Banks is accused of killing his common-law wife, and his 3-year-old daughter and 20-month-old son were apparently present when it happened.
The shooting happened on Monday at an apartment Banks shared with 24-year-old Kimberly Hernandez, located in the 6200 block of East Sam Houston Parkway.
According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrived just before 11 p.m. to find Hernandez dead with an apparent gunshot wound.
Banks initially said he and Hernandez were "play fighting" when the gun went off, investigators said.
Later, he reportedly told them they fought because of text messages on his phone, which deputies believe led to a physical fight, and then the shooting.
"She would always laugh, always happy," said Hernandez's dad, who spoke to ABC13 from his doorstep on Wednesday.
"She was just here on Monday. She was playing with the kids," he said while holding up Hernandez's high school graduation photo. "They called us in the middle of the night to tell us she was dead."
In court Wednesday, prosecutors described how Banks allegedly shot Hernandez in the head while their 3-year-old daughter watched. That child was able to give a description to investigators about what happened.
"Officers spoke with a juvenile eyewitness who told officers that, 'Dad shot mom.' She gestured with her hand as a pistol. Officers spoke to another witness who stated that that same child told her, 'Daddy shot mommy,'" prosecutors said in court.
Banks is being held on a $75,000 bond. His next court appearance is set for next week.
A neighbor told investigators they heard screaming and arguing from the couple's apartment at least once a week.
Deputies reportedly investigated a domestic violence incident at the apartment back in October, but the case was ultimately cleared due to lack of prosecution by the complainant.
Banks was also on deferred adjudication on two unrelated charges from two different counties when the shooting occurred, officials said.
"She was having problems with him," said Hernandez's dad, recalling the family had asked his daughter to move back home and bring the grandchildren. "But she would always go back to him."
The grandparents are now raising the two grandchildren.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, call the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 713-528-2121.