Missouri man charged in wife’s death says he shot at her to ‘scare’ her

Posted at 12:35 PM, May 1, 2024 and last updated 10:24 AM, May 6, 2024

LAWSON, Mo. (Court TV) — A Missouri man accused of killing his wife told police he fired a shot at her to “scare her,” according to documents obtained by Court TV.

booking photo of Lawrence Neary

Lawrence Neary is accused of shooting his wife multiple times. (Ray County Sheriff’s Office)

Lawrence Patrick Neary IV, 49, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of his wife. The victim’s name is redacted from court documents, however Scripps News Kansas City identifies her as 47-year-old Patty Neary.

Lawrence was arrested Sunday “at an associate’s residence” after Patty’s body was found in their bedroom closet. Investigators found five shell casings near her body.

According to a probable cause statement, Lawrence told authorities he and Patty got into an argument Saturday evening, during which she grabbed a Ruger semi-automatic .22 caliber pistol and pointed it at him. Lawrence said he took the gun from her, and the argument continued in their bedroom as Patty was trying to leave the residence.

During a physical altercation, Lawrence claimed Patty fell into the closet, where he “fired one round from his handgun beside (her) head” to “scare her.” Lawrence said Patty continued to “verbally berate him,” so he fired more shots. Then he said, as Patty tried to grab the gun from him, “a struggle ensued, which led to more rounds being fired.” When asked if any of the fired rounds could’ve struck Patty, Lawrence said it was possible.

Afterwards, Lawrence fled the residence through a window but quickly returned to retrieve his cellphone.

“While back inside, he described hearing (Patty) making moaning and gurgling noises as she laid on the floor inside the closet….Lawrence said he could tell (she) was fading and he wanted to wake (her) up. Using his handgun, he described shooting above (her) head in an attempt to wake (her) up.”

Investigators said evidence at the scene did not support Lawrence’s claim of shooting around Patty’s head, and instead suggested she was shot multiple times while on her back.

He is currently being held without bond, reports Scripps News Kansas City.