WELD COUNTY, Colo. -
Prosecutors say a former Weld County deputy sheriff, accused of killing his wife, screamed at her for wanting to smoke marijuana, just minutes before she died.
**WARNING: The video from court contains profanity and graphic testimony**
Ashley Fallis' death was originally ruled a suicide.
Her family fought to have the case investigated as a murder and accused investigators of changing witnesses' testimony and omitting key evidence in police reports.
The case was reopened in April 2014 and a grand jury indicted her husband, Tom Fallis, on murder charges in November of that year.
- Opening statements -
In a dramatic opening statement, Chief Deputy District Attorney Anthea Carrasco told jurors that Tom Fallis yelled at his in-laws, "You guys wanted to get her (f-word) high!"
She said he was yelling at the top of his lungs "as his wife lay dying on their bedroom floor."
Carrasco said that minutes earlier, Ashley had asked her uncle for some marijuana and that her husband became enraged.
"He was conviced that Ashley would lose her job if she got high," she said.
"He stormed back up those stairs, looked at her family and yelled "Get the (f-word) out of my house. I (f-word) hate you," Carrasco said. "And he walks into the master bedroom and slams the door."
Prosecutors said Ashley's family left after the outburst around 12:45 a.m.
They apparently drove a few blocks then pulled over out of concern for Ashley's and the children's safety.
Carrasco said Ashley's mother sent Tom Fallis a text message that said, "I know you're concerned and we are too. Just remember, there are kids in the house." The text was sent at 12:46 a.m.
Ashley was shot four minutes later, she said.
The prosecution said the crime scene evidence proves that Tom Fallis lied about Ashley shooting herself.
"If is it as the defendant claims it was, that he was in the closet of that master bedroom, across the bed from where Ashley was, changing his clothes, at the time she shot herself in the head, there should be more blood. More blood on her, more blood on her clothes, more blood on the floor, more blood everywhere. And there's not. And what you're going to see is the vast majority of blood in that room is on him," Carrasco said. "Be asking yourself why."
Carrasco argued that the blood spatter evidence shows that someone was holding Ashley and rotated her body as she was lowered to the ground.
The prosecution also revealed that the couple had thought Ashley was pregnant again. Ashley had her tubes tied after the couple's son Blake was born, but they had grown back together, Carrasco said.
On Dec. 31, Ashley started to bleed, Carrasco said. She took two pregnancy tests that day that both came back negative. Carrasco said Ashley joked about being able to drink and her husband was angry.
Defense attorney Iris Eytan said Ashley was the "love of (Tom's) life and his soul mate."
"(Ashley) was a beautiful woman, but she had a terrible pain inside. She was mentally ill," Eytan said. "She was taking medication for anxiety, sleep disorder and depression."
According to Eytan, the couple was excited about having another child and Ashley was devastated when she learned she had miscarried. She drank heavily at the New Year's Eve party, the defense said, and wanted to smoke marijuana with her family.
The defense said the couple was fighting in their bedroom and Ashley grabbed Tom's gun from the closet and held it to her head.
The defense said Ashley Fallis was irrational and impulsive and shot herself with her three children in the home.
Fallis did everything he could to try to save his wife after she shot herself, the defense said.
Six witnesses were called to testify on the on Wednesday.
The first witness, Brad Rodriguez, told jurors that he was called to the scene to provide security and later began to snap crime scene photographs.
One of the photos showed a hole in the bedroom wall, where the bullet that entered and exited Ashley’s head went through the wall.
Rodriguez said when CBI took over the investigation, they gave him a metal detector and asked him to look for the spent bullet out in the yard. He said a co-worker found it.
The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth witnesses were all friends of Tom and Ashley Fallis who had attended their New Year’s Eve party. But they had all left before the shooting happened.
Carrasco told jurors they will also hear from two neighbors. She said one heard the entire altercation, the other, Nick Glover, who was 15 at the time, “heard Tom say he shot Ashley.”
Eytan said Nick Glover “told (Ashley’s parents) what they wanted to hear. “Something he didn’t say in 2012 or 2013.”
Prosecutors allege that after Glover told an investigator that Mr. Fallis admitted (to his own father) that he shot Ashley, the information was omitted from the police report.
Defense attorneys say the evidence shows it was suicide.
“No other officers from six other agencies, including medical personnel, heard what Nick Glover now claims he heard,” Eytan said.
The defense attorney said even the Coroner’s report indicates Ashley Fallis’ death was a suicide.
“We are here because of Jenna Fox, Ashley’s mother, and Joel Raguindin,” Eytan said. “They couldn’t accept the possibility that their daughter committed suicide…and they still don’t accept it. And they found a vehicle, (to share their belief) the news.”
The case was reopened in 2014, and a Grand Jury ended up indicting Tom Fallis for Second Degree Murder.
Tom Fallis was arrested in Bloomington, Indiana, where he had moved with the couple's three young children. Later, he was extradited to Colorado to stand trial.
Tom Fallis walks into court with his attorneys. He's the former Weld Co deputy accused of killing his wife pic.twitter.com/TdS7E5Cwvx
— Lindsay Watts (@LindsayAWatts) March 16, 2016
Fallis' lawyers say Ashley Fallis committed suicide and have introduced a suicide note that was written about a year and a half before her death.
The trial is expected to last 2 to 3 weeks.