GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4)– Opening statements in the trial for a former Weld County Deputy Sheriff accused of shooting and killing his wife after a New Year’s Eve party began on Wednesday morning.
Investigators initially ruled the death of Ashley Fallis a suicide but the case was reopened more than two years after she was found dead. Tom Fallis is accused of killing her on New Year’s Day in 2012. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
When Ashley died of a gunshot wound to her head, her husband told police the young mother of three killed herself.
In court on Wednesday, Tom Fallis listened to the opening statements and began to cry as his defense team described what happened that night. He also shed tears when the defense read a letter Ashley had written in which she described her struggle with depression.
The defense painted a picture of Ashley as a woman who lost her job, had a failed pregnancy and a sick child. She was referred to as a “pressure cooker” the night they claim she shot herself and mentioned that both her grandfather and uncle committed suicide.
“He looked up and he’s coming out of the closet and he sees Ashley with the gun firmly pressed against her temple and she said, ‘You’re right. I can do whatever the (expletive) I want’ and she shot herself in the head,” said the defense attorney.
The prosecution pointed out Tom’s anger, especially on the evening where he was described as angry and agitated. A neighbor also heard Ashley screaming “Get off me!” just before the same neighbor heard gunshots.
“Ashely Fallis was dead on her bedroom floor. A wife, a mother who just spent the entire night with friends and family with no one noticing her being anything other than happy and excited,” said the prosecution attorney.
The defense also said the Evans Police Department were ill equipped to handle the crime scene and made many missteps and mistakenly thought it was a suicide.
The trial is expected to continue through April 1 as both sides plan to call numerous witnesses to testify including Ashley and Tom’s oldest children ages 10 and 13.