CLINTON, Mo. – A woman who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of a western Missouri police officer said she didn't know a man in her home had a gun when she let five officers inside and shooting erupted.
The officers went to Tammy Dee Widger's home by mistake in response to a 911 call on March 6. James Waters shot and killed one of them, Ryan Morton, and two other officers were injured.
Widger, 37, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in Morton's death. The charge was added to previous charges because Morton was killed "as a result of' Widger's alleged drug crime, Henry County prosecutors said.
In a jailhouse interview with The Kansas City Star, Widger said she thought Waters had slipped out the back of the house in Clinton to avoid police and she didn't know he had a gun. She said she had known Waters since childhood and he had been at her house "off and on" since October or November.
"I didn't know what was going to happen," Widger said. "In the blink of an eye, my life changed. I didn't want this."
Waters then barricaded himself inside the home. By the time officers got to Morton hours later, he was dead, along with Waters.
When police arrived initially, she told them she hadn't made the 911 call but she agreed to let the police into the house to make sure no one was in danger.
Widger said she "kind of got the impression" that Waters was determined not to return to prison, where he had served time for robbery and gun charges. She went inside with the officers and was standing with them when the shooting started. Officers told her to go outside and handcuffed her when she did.
She was originally charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and keeping or maintaining a public nuisance.
Henry County Prosecutor Richard Shields said Thursday he had not read the interview and couldn't comment on Widger's statements.
Widger is jailed on $100,000 bond. She has requested a public defender but does not yet have an attorney.
An investigation continues into the 911 mistake that sent officers to the wrong house, 20 miles (30 kilometers) away. Henry County emergency communications officials have blamed a database error.
Widger told investigators that in exchange for helping Waters distribute methamphetamine, he agreed to pay her bills, according to court documents.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com