VISTA (CNS) - Opening statements could get underway Wednesday in the trial of a paroled rapist accused of fatally shooting his wife in front of their two children as they prepared to go to church on New Year's Day last year.
Dontaye Henderson, 29, is charged with murder in the Jan. 1, 2011 death of Tamara Henderson.
Prosecutor Keith Watanabe said Henderson was on parole for a 2003 conviction for raping his former spouse when he allegedly shot his 25-year-old wife in the chest.
Tamara Henderson's mother, Elsie Billups, testified at a preliminary hearing last August that her daughter -- an Army reservist -- had a 6-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and a 16-month-old son with the defendant.
Billups said her daughter and son-in-law were supposed to meet her and other family members for an 11 a.m. service on New Year's Day, but they never showed up.
When Billups had another daughter call Tamara, the defendant answered and said his wife was in the shower. A friend who lived near the Hendersons called back to say she had their children and that Tamara and Dontaye had been in a fight.
In the background, the victim's 6-year-old daughter was overheard saying, "My daddy shot my mom, and my mom is dead."
In a series of 911 calls, the defendant told emergency operators that his wife "hurt herself" and "was hurt pretty bad" and it was "all an accident."
When authorities arrived, they found her on the bed with a photo of the defendant face-down on her chest and a photo of the couple face-down on her groin area, the prosecutor said.
Henderson was gone, but the two children were sitting by the family's Christmas tree when authorities arrived, he said. The defendant was arrested three days later in St. Louis.
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