A Louisiana woman was arrested on Wednesday after a month-long investigation into the death of her husband, who authorities say she killed.
NOLA.com reports that Shantel Wagner, 35, called 911 at around 11:25 p.m. on June 17 to report that her husband, Troy Smith, 44, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Sergeant, shot himself in the head. Wagner reportedly claimed her husband was in the master bedroom of their former home, off of Camellia Lane in Waggaman, when the incident occurred.
Paramedics rushed Smith to the hospital, where he held on for around a week before passing away.
Skeptical of her story, investigators with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office began investigating the incident. According to spokesperson Lt. Jason Rivarde, forensic evidence and multiple interviews led detectives to believe that Smith did not shoot himself.
At around around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, officers arrested Wagner at her home off of the 4900 block of Jean Lafitte. She’s been charged with second-degree murder. Authorities have yet to comment on motive.
Leo Palazzo, Wagner’s defense attorney, said that he was friends with Smith and felt that the Sgt. indeed did kill himself.
“This was a suicide and not a homicide. Troy was a friend of mine too. I loved him, and this just broke my heart,” Palazzo said, according to FOX 8. “This was Father’s Day. My appreciation— he didn’t receive any calls from his children. He might have had too much alcohol and I think he just broke. He just broke.”
Prior to joining JPSO in November 2013 as a trainer and hostage negotiator, Smith was on the SWAT team with the New Orleans Police Department, where he also worked as a bomb technician.
“Troy was extremely competent and extremely well thought of,” NOPD Capt. Michael Glasser said. “Now that (murder allegations have) become evident, we’re even more devastated.”
Smith leaves behind two children, Dominic Smith and Gabriel Smith, as as well two stepchildren, Vayda Wagner and Layla Wagner.
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Troy Smith, Shantel Wagner/JPSO, Dignity Memorial]