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Mom Charged In Fatal Shooting Of Husband, Dog Told Investigators She Believed They Were Intruders
Diane Smith, 52, allegedly told investigators she heard her husband Brandon Smith and more than a dozen other people “singing” and threatening to “shoot her and cut off her legs” before she opened fire.
An Arizona mother who was allegedly convinced her in-laws were plotting to kill her is now accused of shooting and killing her husband and their pet dog.
Diane Smith, 52, has been charged with her husband Brandon Smith’s murder following Sunday’s deadly shooting.
At roughly 2 a.m., police were called to 35th Avenue and Deer Valley Road in North Phoenix after reports of a shooting, Phoenix Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said, according to AZFamily.com.
Brandon, 50, managed to dial 911 after being shot, authorities said, the Arizona Republic reported. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but later died due to his injuries. The couple’s dog was also found dead in the home’s living room.
The couple’s 14-year-old daughter told detectives she was awoken by gunshots and later found her mother holding a rifle near her father and the family, according to the Arizona Republic. The teenage girl wasn’t injured in the shooting.
Smith, however, told investigators she believed her husband and their pet were intruders who had broken into the residence and were trying to kill her, according to a probable cause statement cited by the newspaper. She ultimately alleged that her in-laws were conspiring to assassinate her, law enforcement said.
Smith told investigators she heard her husband and 15 others “singing music lyrics” and threatening to “shoot her and cut off her legs” moments before gunfire erupted in the home, the Arizona Republic reports.
At one point, Diane Smith claimed a total of four individuals had broken into the house and swarmed her in the dark. She allegedly told detectives she reached for an assault rifle from a bedroom and pulled the trigger.
She insisted the pet dog must have been fatally struck in the “crossfire,” according to the probable cause statement cited by the Arizona Republic.
No evidence of anyone entering the home was found by detectives. The couple’s daughter also maintained she hadn’t seen anybody on the property at the time of the shooting, investigators said. A next door neighbor’s home was also reportedly struck by a number of stray bullets. The homeowners were sleeping at the time of the shooting.
Diane Smith was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, endangerment, and cruelty to animals.
The Smiths were married for approximately 13 years, according to the Arizona Republic.
Brandon Smith’s family had previously raised concerns over his safety, as well as the state of his wife’s mental health, according to the probable cause statement. His relatives said they once tried to have Diane Smith committed to a mental hospital, and filed police reports in regards to past incidents, the Arizona Republic reported.
Family members also said they were afraid Diane Smith was "going to do something to him," according to AZFamily.com, citing court documents.
Diane Smith is being held on a $750,000 bond at a Maricopa County detention center. Her next court date is scheduled for March 31. It’s unclear if she’s retained legal representation. If convicted, she could face up to a maximum of 25 years behind bars, according to state laws.