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Just four days after she had remarried last week, a Minnesota woman was shot to death, allegedly by her ex-husband who police say admitted to the slaying during a lengthy stand-off with authorities.
Lauri Deatherage, 48, was fatally shot by her ex-husband, 64-year-old Robert Dwayne McCloud, at a home in Robbinsdale, according to police.
On June 18, authorities were dispatched to the residence for a welfare check shortly after 9 a.m. where she was found dead inside the house’s master bedroom. She’d been shot in the head, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
A discharged cartridge casing was recovered by investigators; there were no signs of forced entry to the home, police said.
Investigators soon tracked McCloud to his home in Brooklyn Center, where a 10-hour standoff ensued. McCloud allegedly told negotiators he’d originally planned to kill himself after shooting his ex-wife, according to the criminal complaint.
“They caught themselves a murderer and saved a suicide,” McCloud said to police, according to the complaint. “[The] plan was to take care of business with [the victim], then myself, but I took care of business with her and I left.”
According to the complaint, McCloud said he shot Deatherage to death while she was lying in bed; he'd opened fire as she reached for a telephone, he said. McCloud said he believed she was about to dial 911, the complaint states.
A black pistol was seized from McCloud’s home that had a “live round” in its chamber, according to the complaint. Detectives said they also found clothing in the home with a “blood-like substance,” as well as a key to Deatherage’s house.
Investigators said they learned that McCloud had mailed flash drives to relatives before Deatherage's killing; they contained a video recording in which he stated his deadly intentions.
“He planned to commit suicide, he knew it was wrong to involve [the] victim, but that [the] victim had just remarried and he wasn’t going to let ‘that hillbilly’ get all his stuff and his wife,” the criminal complaint reads.
McCloud was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Billy Deatherage said the couple wed on June 13 — which was also his wife's birthday.
"Our time was cut short by an atrocious act," he told the Minnesota Star Tribune. "We had been married less than one week before she was taken away from me."
The widower described himself as a “train wreck” in the days since his spouse’s slaying.
"She really was a joy in my life," he told KSTP-TV. "I still don't want to believe it. I don't have a choice. When you're with someone, you love them every minute."
Deatherage said he’d socialized with McCloud a day prior to the shooting.
"He and I sat out here the day prior with another friend of Lauri's and conversed for almost four hours," he said.
The couple met three decades ago at a U.S. Air Force Base in Grand Forks, North Dakota, he said; in 2017, they started a romantic relationship, and this spring he proposed marriage. They'd planned to move to Arkansas, Deatherage said.
According to civil court records, Lauri Deatherage had filed for divorce from McCloud in 2017; the marriage was dissolved the following year.
Lauri Deatherage had served in the U.S. Air Force, according to the Star Tribune. She went on to work as a costume designer for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for the past two decades.
"Lauri was loved by literally hundreds and hundreds of people and she touched so many lives in so many positive ways," Deatherage told the newspaper. "She was a good soul."
Police said the case remains open and active.
McCloud was booked into a Hennepin County detention center on June 19, according to online jail records. He is being held on a $2 million bail; his next court appearance is scheduled for June 23. Information regarding an attorney who could speak on his behalf wasn’t immediately available.
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