A Phoenix woman who believed her husband’s family was plotting to kill her has been charged with using an assault rifle to fatally shoot him and their dog, police said.
Diane Smith, 52, was arrested early Sunday after her husband, Brandon Smith, called 911 to report that his wife shot him with a rifle, a police spokeswoman told AZFamily.com.
Brandon Smith, 50, said the couple’s 14-year-old daughter was also home, but wasn’t hurt by the gunfire that awoke her. The teen came out of her bedroom and saw her father on the floor with a gunshot wound as her mother held a rifle, court documents obtained by the outlet show.
Brandon Smith was later pronounced dead at a hospital, police said. The couple’s daughter told investigators Diane Smith told her she believed her husband was an intruder, leading her to shoot two people as they tried to bust into the family’s home, court documents show.
Police also found the family’s dog fatally shot in the living room. Officers took Smith into custody and she later told investigators she believed her husband of 13 years and his family were conspiring to kill her, the Arizona Republic reported.
Just before the shooting, Diane Smith said she heard her husband and roughly 15 other people "singing music lyrics" and threatening to "shoot her and cut off her legs, a probable cause statement shows.
That prompted Diane Smith to grab an assault rifle from a bedroom and open fire as four people rushed toward her while all the lights were off inside the home, she told police.
But the couple’s daughter said no one else was in the residence at the time – and investigators did not find any evidence to back up Diane Smith’s version of events, police said.
Smith told detectives she saw her husband and dog shot multiple times on the floor when her daughter turned on the lights, saying that the family’s pet must have been caught in the "crossfire," court documents show.
Relatives of Brandon Smith had previously tried to get Diane Smith committed to a mental health facility, claiming she was "going to do something to him" while filing several police reports, according to AZFamily.com.
Diane Smith, who was charged with second-degree murder, cruelty to animals and endangerment, remains in custody on $750,000 bond. She’s scheduled to appear in court on March 31, the Arizona Republic reported.
It’s unclear if she’s hired an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
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