York county wife charged after allegedly shooting husband during domestic dispute

Posted at 6:48 AM, Feb 04, 2014

York County, Va. -The huge gash on 68-year-old Mary Jane Betts' forehead is startling to see, but even more bizarre to hear is how deputies believe it got there.

"We believe that she inflicted some wounds upon herself to make it look like she was acting in self-defense, but it appears that's not the case," said York-Poquson Sheriff J. D. Diggs.

Authorities said she hurt herself after shooting her husband twice.

He is okay now, but even the sheriff said he could not believe the details as they poured in over his radio on January 22.

"I was out and about and heard it over the radio and heard some of the details I was thinking what's really going on here?" he said.

A search warrant obtained by NewsChannel 3 said Betts started shooting at her husband inside their Wheely Circle home.  The affidavit said she "followed him down the hallway and continued shooting at him without saying a word."

Records said Mr. Betts was able to escape to a neighbor's house and call 911.  He was sent to the hospital with bullet wounds to his head and arm and several nicks to his neck.

Authorities found his wife still inside the couple's home when they got to the scene.  She was also taken to the hospital and arrested January 31 when she was released.

"It makes it especially difficult when people with no history of violence, criminal history, into their late 60s and involved in some kind of shooting like this," said Diggs.  "It's kind of unusual."

According to court records, Mr. Betts said this is not typical behavior of his wife. Records said he told authorities that "lately his wife's behavior hasn't been right" and that the night before this happened, she threatened to smash up everything in the house.

"That would lead me to believe maybe there's an onset of dementia or some other kind of mental health issue that led to this whole thing," Diggs said.

NewsChannel 3 has not been able to independently confirm if Mrs. Betts has any mental health issues, and authorities say there is no record of police calls for domestic violence to their home.

Mrs. Betts is being held in the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.  A trial is set for April.

She was charged with Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm in the commission of a felony, Discharging a firearm in an occupied building, Reckless Handling of a firearm and Unlawful use or injury to a telephone with the intent to prevent another person from summoning Law Enforcement, Fire or Rescue.