The little girl who reportedly witnessed her father’s fatal shooting in a Walmart parking lot this weekend was headed to her 2nd birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese before her mother allegedly shot her dad in the chest during what was meant to be a routine custody exchange.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Kayla Jean Giles, 31, was charged on Saturday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of her estranged husband Thomas Coutee Jr., who was father to her 2-year-old daughter and a stepfather to two older girls.
All three children are believed to have witnessed the fatal shooting, but none were harmed.
The Alexandria Town Talk reports that the victim, 30-year-old Thomas Coutee Jr., had his 2-year-old daughter in tow and had just picked up his two stepdaughters in the Walmart parking lot when Giles allegedly shot him as he was getting into his truck. All three girls were in the vehicle at the time. The family had been planning to go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate the two-year-old girl’s birthday.
Emergency responders attempted to revive him but Coutee was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a campaign page for a GoFundMe account set up to raise funds for Coutee’s grieving family, his daughter is now living with his mother, separate from the two older girls who are believed to be living with relatives elsewhere.
Giles and Coutee were reportedly caught up in a custody dispute, and Coutee had requested a restraining order against his estranged wife in August, accusing her of physical abuse. The court had been unable to successfully serve the retraining order at the time of his death.