The wife of a former police officer charged in the shooting death of a homeless man in New Mexico says the couple has faced mounting legal bills, threats and uncertainty about the future as the case has made its way to trial.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Tiffanie Perez recounted the emotional and financial toll the case has taken on the family.

She says the couple's lives have been stalled until the legal case is resolved.

Dominique Perez and now-retired Detective Keith Sandy are standing trial on second-degree murder charges in the death of 38-year-old James Boyd.

Perez's legal team began laying out its case Wednesday, saying he was obligated to shoot to protect the life of a K-9 handler.

Special prosecutor Randi McGinn counters that Boyd was turning away and surrendering when he was shot.