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Man charged with murder of wife, allegedly for life insurance

During the investigation, Pettis told deputies his wife took prescribed pain medication and consumed at least one alcoholic drink earlier the evening.
Credit: JUN2 / Thinkstock

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane man who found his wife's body back in June was charged with her murder on Wednesday.

On June 25, around 10:30 p.m., David Pettis, 57, called the Spokane County Sheriff's Office saying his wife was not breathing and turning blue.

When medical crews arrived, CPR was given for 40 minutes, but officials said she died on scene.

During the investigation, Pettis told deputies his wife took prescribed pain medication and consumed at least one alcoholic drink earlier the evening.

Pettis told deputies his he walked into the bedroom and found his wife face down on the floor. He also described his wife as very healthy and was given a "clean bill of health" during a recent physical she had to obtain a new life insurance policy.

Family members contacted deputies expressing suspicions against Pettis.

Pettis contacted the Medical Examiner's Office and toxicology labs frustrated on how long it took to obtain a report, stating he needed to collect life insurance policy to pay for funeral arrangements.

During an interview he said his wife took three Hydrocodone pills at a time for pain. He said the pills would be ground up and put in ice cream with an alcoholic mixture because the victim had a hard time swallowing pills.

Detectives also learned from a friend that Pettis had unsuccessfully attempted to start a romantic relationship prior to his wife's death.

The completed toxicology report showed the victim had multiple drugs in her system including Hydrocodone, Trazadone, and Benadryl, but no alcohol. Spokane County Sheriff deputies said the Hydrocodone itself was at a lethal level.

Officials said the life insurance policy for the victim was approved and issued days before her death.

Pettis was booked into the Spokane County Jail for 1st degree murder.

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