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'I Thought He Was Going To Kill Me,' Woman Tells 911 Dispatcher After Allegedly Shooting Her Husband

Stephanie Westby, a 47-year-old mother of two, has been charged with domestic violence and murder following the death of her husband, Joseph Westby. But she says she shot him in self-defense.

By Dorian Geiger
Police Lights G

On Sunday, Stephanie Westby placed a frantic call to 911, allegedly telling a dispatcher she'd just shot her 51-year-old husband at their home in Camas, Washington. 

“My husband and I just had a big fight .... I thought he was going to kill me and I shot him,” she allegedly said. “I think he’s dead.”

An hour later, Stephanie would be in handcuffs, charged with the first-degree murder of her husband Joseph Westby, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com. The 47-year-old has also been charged with domestic violence. 

When police arrived at the Westbys' home — about 20 miles northeast of Portland — on Sept. 15, they found the Joseph unresponsive with no pulse. 

Police, who said Stephanie divulged few details of the shooting before requesting legal representation, was “hysterical and crying” during her conversation with emergency dispatchers. 

“He attacked me and said he was going to kill me,” she allegedly told investigators. 

The couple’s 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter told detectives there was no “history of domestic violence or any violence in their home.” However, authorities said they admitted their parents had been having marital problems and that their mother, Stephanie, had been “depressed.”

“The marriage has suffered and they have been in a constant state of turmoil since,” the probable cause statement said.

The couple’s children weren’t in the house when the shooting occurred. But prior to the domestic incident, Stephanie allegedly asked her son to leave the house. That was code, her son told police, that his parents “were going to argue.” The young man told police this wasn’t “odd” because the parents “kept their fighting away from the kids.” The mother also allegedly advised her daughter to stay the night at her boyfriend’s house that night.

Authorities said the couple’s home was “neat and orderly,” and didn’t show any signs that a struggle had taken place. 

“There were no overt signs normally associated with a physical altercation,” the probable cause statement said. “There was no broken or damaged furniture or personal belongings.”

Stephanie, who had complained of chest pains following her husband’s shooting, was seen by medical personnel, and released before being transported to Clark County Jail. 

Her bail was set at $500,000. However, she was granted supervised release on Wednesday after posting bail, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. She’s prohibited from possessing firearms while her trial is pending. 

Stephanie’s legal team insists she’s innocent — and that she was fighting for her life when she shot her husband. 

"She called 911, she reported that he was threatening to kill her and attack her, and she acted in self-defense," attorney Steve Thayer told Oregon outlet KATU.

Thayer didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment. 

Neighbors of the Washington couple were dismayed by the news of the shooting death. 

"I have never heard of anything like this happening,” Lauren Gallas told the ABC affiliate. “It's really sad. Really scary. Kinda don't really know what to think. I feel really bad for everybody involved." 

Stephanie Westby's arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m. in Clarky County court.