Vancouver woman charged with murder attempt

She allegedly tried to shoot husband after he asked her for a divorce

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: September 25, 2012, 5:12 PM

 

A Vancouver woman accused of trying to fatally shoot her husband after he asked for a divorce was charged Tuesday with first-degree attempted murder.

Prosecutors also filed felony harassment charges against Gayle Bethke, 60. Both charges carry firearm enhancements.

Bethke is being held in the Clark County Jail on $750,000 bail. She made her first appearance on Monday in Clark County Superior Court and will be arraigned on Friday.

Prosecutors said Bethke’s husband of nine years told her he wanted a divorce on Friday night, leading her to retrieve a .380 semiautomatic pistol. Bethke jumped on the bed where her husband, Roger, was lying and allegedly pointed the gun at his head, according to court documents.

As she squeezed the trigger, Roger Bethke, 41, managed to wrestle the gun away. As a struggle ensued, Gayle Bethke allegedly kept threatening to kill him, said Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Nugent. Her husband pushed her to the floor and she left the house in the 14600 block of Northeast 49th Circle.

Later, Gayle Bethke left two voice mail messages for her grown daughter, apologizing “for trying to kill Roger,” Nugent said.

Police didn’t apprehend Gayle Bethke until Saturday. She was arrested following a pursuit into Skamania County.

Court documents indicate she is a recovering alcoholic with a history of mental illness. Bethke has a pint-of-vodka-a-day habit and is currently detoxing, those documents state.

Judge John Wulle set the $750,000 bail and appointed defense attorney Tom Phelan to represent her.