Accused wife killer tells jury shooting 'Worst mistake of my life'

Lars Itzo on trial for fatal shooting of Debra Kelly

SAN ANTONIOUPDATE: A jury found Lars Itzo not guilty on murder charges and guilty of manslaughter.

Lars Itzo, 49, was the final witness in his murder trial Thursday. He described the night that he shot his wife Debbie Kelly, 48, to death as “the worst day of my life.”

Itzo said that it was dark inside the couple’s North Side home and that he was awakened by a light and voices.

“I heard whispers,” he testified. “The light made me believe that one was going one way and the other was coming my way.”

Itzo, 49, said he grabbed a sawed-off shotgun and fired one shot, hitting Kelly in the chest and killing her. He thought she was an intruder.

Itzo testified that he thought his wife was in bed and was shocked when he realized that he had shot her.

Among the defenses, Itzo’s lawyer, David Phillips, asked the jury to consider “defense of a third party.” That's a position Itzo took when questioned by Phillips.

“Were you trying in any way to hurt your wife or were you trying to protect her?” Phillips asked.

“I was trying to protect her,” Itzo answered.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Leo Gonzalez suggested that before shooting his wife, Itzo should have asked questions.

“Angel, is that you?” Gonzalez said Itzo should have asked. “Where are you at so I know what to do to protect you?”

Phillips argued that Itzo had no intent to hurt of kill his wife.

“That’s our defense, folks,” Phillips told the jury. “I can’t make it any more clear.”

Phillips asked for a verdict of not guilty. Prosecutors asked the jury to find Itzo guilty of murder.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday morning in Judge Steven Hilbig's 187th District Court. Punishment for manslaughter ranges from two to 20 years in prison.

About the Author

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

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