Marriage was 'good and bad,' testifies Utah man accused of killing wife
Provo • Between sobs, Tracy A. Scott told a jury Wednesday about how he stood in front of his wife one March night, raised a gun, and shot and killed her.
"I snapped," Scott testified during the second day of his murder trial. "I just seen red. I went storming in [to the bedroom], she's laying on the bed, and she's got her cellphone [camera] pointed at me."
Scott testified that he reached down, grabbed a gun off the floor and cocked it.
"Then I'm standing there, with the gun in my hand, pointed at Teresa," Scott said, the level of his voice rising as he described the events. "I said in my mind, 'Oh my God,' and then I noticed my hand just shaking. And then, boom, boom.
"I watched the percussion of the gun, I watched the bullet flip out. And then I looked at Teresa. And I stared at her. There was nothing. Not a movement."
Tracy Scott would fire his gun two more times at his wife. In the moments after the shots were fired, the man told the 4th District Court jury that he then wanted to commit suicide.
"I told myself, 'I'm going to join her, I can't do this,' " he tearfully testified. "I was just about to kill myself when I seen [my children's] pictures on the wall. I know I couldn't do it. I had done enough already."
Instead, Tracy Scott picked up a cellphone and called 911.
Though the man was emotional his body wracked with sobs on the witness stand Wednesday, his voice was flat and calm when he called dispatchers March 23, 2013, and told them his wife was dead.
"My wife is shot," Scott is heard telling a dispatcher during the 911 call played in court Tuesday.
"Who shot her?" the dispatcher asked.
"Is she awake?" the dispatcher asked.
"No, she's dead," Scott replied.
Scott, 48, is charged with first-degree felony murder. But defense attorney Richard Gale told the jury that "extreme emotional distress" caused his client to snap and kill his 45-year-old wife. Gale said he hopes the jury will convict his client of the lesser crime of second-degree felony manslaughter.
Gale asked his client Wednesday whether he would have shot his wife if he was in the right mind.
"I wouldn't do a thing like that," Scott testified. "I don't know why it turned out like that. We've never done nothing that bad. We've never, ever pulled guns out or acted like that."
Earlier Wednesday, Tracy Scott testified about his 19-year marriage to Teresa Scott.
He said sparks flew between the two of them at an Ozzy Osbourne concert in 1989. They married in 1994. They had two children.
"We were two peas in a pod," Scott testified. "We were together all the time. We loved each other. We were a pair."
But Scott said constant fights and bickering marred the relationship. He estimated that about 65 percent of 70 percent of their lives were spent disagreeing with each other.
They fought about money. About prescription drug use. About jealousy.
"It was bad," he said of their fights in the days before his wife's death. "It was get in your face, yell, scream at each other. Spit flying. It was a lot, lot worse [than it had ever been]."
The day before the shooting, Tracy Scott testified that he became fearful after he found a gun safe open in their home and a weapon missing.
"Were you worried that Teresa was going to use the gun to do some harm to you?" Gale asked.
"Yes," Tracy Scott replied. "â¦I was nervous and worried. I was scared to death."
On March 23, the gun was missing from the safe again, Tracy Scott testified. He said he decided to confront his wife about it.
When he walked into the bedroom, he said he saw his wife pointing her camera phone at him likely trying to take a video or picture. It was something they did during domestic disputes as a way to show friends or family that the other partner was at fault for the fights, he said.
That's when he shot and killed her, Tracy Scott testified.
Salem police Officer Roger Lowe testified Tuesday that when officers arrived at the couple's home, located near 400 E. 300 South, Tracy Scott yelled from his porch, "I just shot my wife. I have a gun," before going inside his home.
Tracy Scott eventually came outside and was arrested.
Inside the home, officers found Teresa Scott dead, sitting up on her bed with her legs crossed, her crochet work at her feet.
Police have said the Scotts had a long history of domestic violence, but police hadn't been called there in the past few years.
According to Utah court records, Tracy Scott was charged with simple assault and child abuse/neglect in 2006. Those charges were later dismissed as part of a plea in abeyance.
Gale also called Tracy Scott's mother and brothers to the stand Wednesday, who all detailed the Scotts' tumultuous relationship. His mother and one brother testified that it appeared to them that Teresa Scott had a prescription drug problem.