Phoenix police have arrested a woman who's accused of fatally shooting her husband on Tuesday night, CBS News reports.
After receiving a call about a domestic disturbance, police found 46-year-old Donald Mellon Jr. inside his Phoenix home with a single gunshot wound. Mellon was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His wife, 31-year-old Rebekah Mellon, has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder.
Rebekah was either exhausted from the ordeal or unfazed because, according to authorities, she fell asleep in the back of the patrol car. After waking up, Rebekah told investigators that she came out of the bedroom and found her husband on the floor bleeding. She then called 911.
Detectives apparently took issue with her story. Authorities believe that Mellon fired the shot with a handgun and that it appeared to be an unprovoked attack. They also say that Rebekah didn't help her husband and waited several minutes before calling 911.
She was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. A first-degree murder charge requires that murder was premeditated, or planned ahead.
That means that investigators believe that the crime was a deliberate, planned murder rather than a spur of the moment crime of passion. A defendant who kills her spouse in the heat of the moment, without prior thought, is often charged with the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter.
The most common example of voluntary manslaughter is a defendant who kills his or her spouse (or the spouse's lover) after finding them in bed together. That's probably not the case here, however, as authorities believe that Mellon's attack was unprovoked and deliberate.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Rebekah Mellon could face life imprisonment or even the death penalty for the killing of Donald Mellon Jr. The couple's 11-year-old child is now living with family, authorities say.
- Phoenix Woman Accused in Husband's Murder (ABC News)
- First Degree Murder Defenses (FindLaw)
- Men Sets Pregnant Girlfriend on Fire; Charged with Murder (FindLaw's Phoenix Criminal Law Blog)