In what the judge and defense attorney agree is a unique case, a Tucson woman was sentenced to five years' probation and 200 hours of community service Monday for shooting her husband in the mouth, possibly twice.
On June 8, police found Douglas Nemeth sitting on a bed holding bandages to his face, according to court documents. Investigators determined he was sleeping on his side when he was shot twice in the mouth and suffered a broken vertebra in his neck, a broken jaw and several broken teeth.
Vicki Jo Nemeth, 66, told officers she and her husband had gotten into an argument because she'd recently obtained a credit card against his wishes. When he fell asleep, she decided to remove the bullets from his .38 revolver, but the gun accidentally discharged twice, court documents state.
Nemeth was indicted June 28 on four counts of aggravated assault and one count of attempted first-degree murder.
She pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon last month, and could have received between 3 1/2 and 8 3/4 years in prison.
On Monday, Douglas Nemeth told Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash that his wife had "no intention whatsoever" of hurting him. She nursed him back to health after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma and should get unsupervised probation, he said.
Defense attorney Brad Roach submitted 15 character letters on behalf of his client, who has been married to her husband 46 years and has four children with him.
Vicki Nemeth knows nothing about guns and hadn't touched one since her husband returned from the Korean War, Roach said.
A tearful Vicki Nemeth told the judge she is remorseful and things are fine between she and her husband.
The judge cited Vicki Nemeth's remorse, family and community support and lack of criminal history when placing her on probation.
"The incident definitely seems out of character," Rash said.
While on probation, Vicki Nemeth must continue to receive mental health treatment and work part time.
Court documents indicate she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder late last year.
On StarNet: Follow the news and events in Kim Smith's blog, At the Courthouse, at azstarnet.com/courthouse
Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or email@example.com