The case files on two Omaha residents accused in the Aug. 24 shooting death of an Omaha man have been sealed pending further investigation, Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge said Thursday.
Ethredge said Linda Lafee, 61, has been formally charged with first-degree murder and 55-year-old Michael Watson has been formally charged with hindering apprehension in the case, but the contents of the case files against them aren't currently open to the public.
The prosecutor went on to say that there are aspects of the investigation pending and police are still working those leads. Authorities fear that some of those leads could dry up if details are released before the investigation is completed.
Both are scheduled to be arraigned in Boone County Circuit Court on Friday, Oct. 2, Ethredge said. He went on to say that he didn’t know if the files would be unsealed after the court appearances, but also that the files won’t be sealed “forever.”
Boone County Sheriff Tim Roberson said his office was notified about 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24, of a one-vehicle wreck on College Street near the Omaha School. The caller said the driver was unresponsive.
About the same time, another caller reported a possible domestic assault at the Richard and Linda Lafee residence on College Street.
Deputies arrived on the crash scene and found the driver was Richard Lafee, 63. Roberson said it was discovered that Lafee had suffered numerous gunshot wounds and was deceased.
Deputies went to the Lafee residence where Linda Lafee said there had been a domestic disturbance in which a gunshot was fired, Roberson said. Lafee allegedly made statements to authorities implicating herself in the disturbance and her knowledge of the shooting.
Although she did not show any visible signs of injury, Linda Lafee was transported to Cox South in Springfield, Missouri, where she received treatment for an undisclosed medical issue.
Officers also found that Watson was present in the home. Due to an outstanding warrant for Watson’s arrest for failure to appear in court, he was taken into custody.
Through the course of the investigation, investigators believe that Linda Lafee unjustifiably shot her husband multiple times while in the home. Richard Lafee left the home in his vehicle in an apparent attempt to seek help, but succumbed to the gunshot wounds before he was able to get any medical assistance.
Statements that were received by investigators from Linda Lafee and Watson regarding their involvement in the incident were quickly discredited based on physical evidence and statements obtained, Roberson said.
“The motive for the incident appears to revolve around a history of relationship conflicts, that has tragically escalated to this shooting,” Roberson said in a statement.
Linda Lafee was released from Cox South Hospital and taken into custody by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of first-degree murder. She was being held in the Greene County Jail awaiting extradition to Arkansas, records show. She was booked into the Boone County Jail on Aug. 28 with bond set at $500,000 cash only.
The day she was booked in, Boone County authorities contacted the Harrison Police Department for warrant confirmation on Lafee for harassment and reckless driving with bond set at $1,295 cash only. That warrant was confirmed valid.
Due to Watson’s fabricated story to law enforcement and failure to provide help to the victim, Roberson said, he was booked into the Boone County Jail on Aug. 27. His bond was set at $1,417 on the warrant for failure to appear in court and $50,000 cash only on hindering apprehension.
Both were still held Thursday afternoon in the Boone County Jail, records show.