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Man, 67, on trial for his wife’s murder admits he killed her but was sleepwalking at the time

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Raymond Lazarine, 67, admits to killing his wife but claims he can’t be held fully responsible for her murder because he was sleepwalking at the time

Raymond Lazarine, 67, admits to killing his wife but claims he can’t be held fully responsible for her murder because he was sleepwalking at the time

A Houston man who admits to killing his wife claims he can’t be held fully responsible for her death because he was sleepwalking at the time of the murder, a court heard Tuesday.

Raymond Lazarine, 67, was charged with murder in the death of his wife, Deborah Lazarine, 63, on December 18, 2013, after shooting her six times at their home in Dillon, including twice in the head and once in the back.

Moments after the fatal shooting, Lazarine called his son, Nathan, just before noon to tell him he’d dreamed he’d killed Deborah but awoke to find her lifeless in a pool of blood on the floor, defense attorneys claimed.

Lazarine later reiterated to police that he thought he was in a dream as he carried out the killing. Because of his apparent sleep-like state, Lazarine is claiming his actions were involuntary.

‘Our position over here is this was a dream and it wasn’t voluntary. And he does, we’ve had him evaluated, and obviously the experts are going to come by and say, hey, we think he suffers from a medical condition where it’s involuntary,’ Lazarine’s defense attorney Feroz F. Merchant told the jury yesterday.

Deborah Lazarine, 63, was killed on December 18, 2013, after her husband shot her six times at their home in Dillon

Deborah Lazarine, 63, was killed on December 18, 2013, after her husband shot her six times at their home in Dillon

A diagram shows the six bullet wounds Deborah suffered, including two in the head and one in the back

A diagram shows the six bullet wounds Deborah suffered, including two in the head and one in the back

Fil Waters, a now-retired Houston homicide detective who was once of the first to arrive at the scene of the crime, revealed to the court what Lazarine first said him.

‘He mentioned something there that was more of an off the wall comment about, ‘This is like a dream. I wish I could wake up from.’ Something along those lines,’ he said.

Prosecutors called 46-year-old Krysta Johns – Deborah’s daughter and Lazarine’s step-daughter – to the stand shortly afterward, who described the defendant as abusive and an alcoholic.

Johns said Lazarine was also very controlling of Deborah, who acted as his caretaker, and had threatened to kill her so many times that she was no longer afraid of him when he said it.

She recalled for the court one particular incident, when she was in high school, where she walked into her parent’s room to hear her mother, who was hungover, ask Raymond for water.

Johns said when her mother asked him for a different cup, he got on top of her, pinning her down and held a gun under her chin.

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Moments after the fatal shooting, Lazarine called his son Nathan just before noon to tell him he’d been dreaming that he’d killed Deborah and awoke to find her lifeless in a pool of blood on the floor, defense attorneys claimed

Moments after the fatal shooting, Lazarine called his son Nathan just before noon to tell him he’d been dreaming that he’d killed Deborah and awoke to find her lifeless in a pool of blood on the floor, defense attorneys claimed

Lazirene’s son testified that his father had been under a psychiatrist's care for more than a decade. He said Lazirene had been prescribed psychotropic drugs, which his he sometimes mixed with alcohol (Lazarine's family home pictured above)

Lazirene’s son testified that his father had been under a psychiatrist’s care for more than a decade. He said Lazirene had been prescribed psychotropic drugs, which his he sometimes mixed with alcohol (Lazarine’s family home pictured above)

Lazarine later reiterated to police that he thought he was in a dream as he carried out the killing. Because of his apparent sleep-like state, Lazarine is claiming his actions were involuntary

Deborah Lazarine

Lazarine later reiterated to police that he thought he was in a dream as he carried out the killing. Because of his apparent sleep-like state, Lazarine is claiming his actions were involuntary

Raymond Lazarine ran and owned a successful electrical contracting business. He and Deborah had been married for 35-years before the murder, with no serious brushes with the law or reports of abuse at their home.

The defense called four men, all of whom had been incarcerated with Lazerine at one stage, to testify Tuesday.

One by one, each of the men recounted instances they’d awoken to find Lazerine walking in his sleep, both at night and in the day time.

‘There are witnesses over there who have seen the manifestation of his sleep disorder, and we thought that would be important for the jury to know,’ Lazerine’s defense attorney Feroz Merchant said.

Lazarine’s son testified that his father had been under a psychiatrist’s care for more than a decade. He said Lazarine had been prescribed psychotropic drugs, which he sometimes mixed with alcohol.

Lazarine told police he was talking his prescription drugs the day of the shooting, NBC Houston reported.

If found guilty, Lazerine could face life in prison. Deborah’s family say they ‘just want justice’ after five long years of waiting.

The trial will resume again Wednesday.

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