BELTON — Charges against a Killeen woman who shot and killed her husband were dropped Wednesday after a Bell County grand jury found that the woman likely acted in self-defense.
Vilmarie Mateo, 36, faced a murder charge in the Aug. 26 shooting death of her husband, Jose Luis Mateo, at a home in the 2500 block of Wiley Drive in Killeen.
After the initial charges, police started uncovering evidence that Jose Mateo abused his wife several times before the fatal shooting, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said.
On the day of the shooting, their 9-year-old son overheard the couple arguing and then a gunshot. He then walked into their bedroom to see his father lying on the bed while Vilmarie Mateo stood over him.
She never gave a statement to police beyond her initial interaction with officers when they arrived at her home.
She was hysterical at the time, according to an arrest affidavit, telling officers she had shot her husband and that he needed help.
Jose Mateo, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene. He suffered one gunshot wound to the left side of his chest, the affidavit stated.
Officers found marks on Vilmarie Mateo consistent with abuse. She was examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner, and made mention of past instances of domestic violence.
Her testimony during a court hearing with Child Protective Services referenced abuse, and police uncovered an accusation that her husband assaulted her while they lived in Puerto Rico, Bledsoe said.
As the evidence came to light, Mateo had her bond reduced from $1 million to $1,000 and was released from jail on a public recognizance bond.