An 87-year-old grandmother is in jail today. Held by a Yakima County Superior Court judge on suspicion of second-degree murder of her granddaughter.
According to the police, Wanda Roberts said she’d moved in with her granddaughter, 34-year-old Tiffany LeAnne Roberts, to help,
“… get her life straightened out but underestimated the problems the granddaughter had and became fearful.”
Wanda, who has no previous criminal background, attempted to get a protective order against Tiffany last year, stating Tiffany had pushed her grandfather down. The protective order was denied by Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson.
Tiffany, on the other hand has prior convictions of drug charges, first-degree theft, and residential burglary.
According to police records, Wanda Roberts called a 911 operator around 12:20 a.m. to report she “had to shoot” her granddaughter, because Tiffany was threatening her.
A witness later reported hearing a woman yelling, “Let me in!” from the apartment.
When police arrived on the scene they discovered Wanda waiting for them in the doorway of the apartment, Tiffany lay in the hallway with a gun shot wound to her upper chest.
She was taken to Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima, where she was pronounced dead at 1 a.m.
Police investigators report a single shot was fired through the door of Wanda’s bedroom. A “black handgun” was found in the room along with a single spent casing.
Wanda’s defense attorney, Andres Muñoz, supported her actions, saying there was no evidence to justify holding Wanda on suspicion of murder.
The attorney then pointed out Wanda had called the authorities, was cooperative, and had attempted in the past to be issued a protective order. He said,
“It seemed to me that my client was essentially trapped inside her bedroom, and felt she had no other means to protect her safety except to fire her firearm.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Jackson disagreed, saying Wanda did not comply adequately with police by exercising her constitutional right to remain silent. According to Jackson, this meant prosecutors did not have her full version of events.
The Prosecuting Attorney went on to say that other elements of the case, such as Tiffany being unarmed, and behind a locked door, does not lend to a self-defense scenario.
Judge Gayle Harthcock who presided over the court appearance said she could agree to the probable cause for second-degree murder but could also see the charge being downgraded to manslaughter or reckless endangerment.
Harthcock scheduled a hearing for today to decide if Wanda Roberts bail would be reduced from the $50,000 it is at currently, or replaced with release on her own recognizance.
Home defense is something that needs to be planned out a head of time to ensure success. Having a plan for conceivable home defense scenarios will help improve reaction times, and also help you to decide when you should and should not use a firearm for self-defense.
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