Renton

$1M bail for Renton woman accused of killing her husband

RENTON, Wash. -- A judge on Wednesday set bail at $1 million for a Renton woman accused of shooting and killing her husband over the weekend.

Vanetta Richardson is accused of shooting her unarmed husband, Jerry Lee Butler, seven times during a Sunday afternoon fight inside the couple's Renton home.

The 34-year old called 911 just after 1:30 p.m. and said her husband had been hitting her so she shot him. Police say she fired a total of nine shots, with seven hitting Butler. They also say her six children, who are all under 16-years old, were in the line of fire.

Police and medics arrived on scene moments later and tried to save Butler, but he did not survive his injuries.

Richardson told police she and Butler were married and that he had recently moved back into the house after a year-long separation, according to court papers. Richardson said she and Butler had been arguing the night before, and the argument continued into the next day with Butler threatening to take the kids and leave.

She said the argument boiled over into violence when Butler slapped and shoved her in the couple's bedroom. She told detectives she reached for a .40 handgun, which was kept in a nearby nightstand, and when Butler charged at her she shot him several times, according to court documents.

Already hit, Butler turned and ran toward the front door, but Richardson said she chased after him and continued firing shots.

Richardson's 14-year-old son outside when the shooting began. He told police Butler ran out of the front door and said, "Move! Get out of the way! She has a gun!" according to police. He said his mom followed Butler outside and shot him twice in the back.

Richardson's 16-year-old daughter said she saw Butler run outside and collapse on the lawn. She said her mom walked over to him and shot him at least twice while he was on the ground.

After her arrest, Richardson told detectives she married Butler in 2005 and he had assaulted her numerous times in the years since. She told them about a 2012 incident where she thought Butler was going to throw a phone at her. In that case, she said she grabbed her gun and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn't fire because the chamber was empty.

On Wednesday, Richardson was charged with second degree murder. She's currently in jail in lieu of $1 million bail. Her arraignment is set for December 16.