Man convicted of shooting wife with bow and arrow to have mental evaluation

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Merriel E. Housman Jr., convicted last month of shooting his ex-wife with a bow and arrow, will undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation before he is sentenced, Cape Girardeau County Circuit Judge William L. Syler ruled Monday.

Syler presided over a sentencing hearing in the case Monday afternoon, but said he would wait for the results of the evaluation before making a ruling on Housman Jr.'s sentence.

The assault occurred Sept. 1, 2008, at a Pocahontas residence the former couple still shared.

A jury convicted Housman Jr. on April 8 after almost two hours of deliberation. He faces a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison for the first-degree assault conviction and

another potential seven years for the domestic

assault.

Housman Jr. has been in the Cape Girardeau County Jail since his conviction, at which point his bond was revoked and he was returned to custody.

Syler set a new date of July 20 for the sentencing.

During the one-day jury trial, Betty Housman, ex-wife of Hosuman Jr., testified that before the assault, she and her husband argued during a car ride home from Alton, Ill., and he threatened to shoot her with his bow and arrow.

According to her testimony, she grabbed her .22-caliber handgun and attempted to run from the house when the argument between them escalated into a physical confrontation, and her ex-husband began striking her with a cordless phone.

Merriel Housman III, son of Betty and Housman Jr., testified that he struggled with his mother over the gun.

Housman Jr., told a sheriff's deputy that he'd gotten the bow and arrow from the closet after hearing the gunshots, and defense attorney Malcolm Montgomery argued that Housman Jr. acted in defense of his son.

Cape Girardeau County assistant prosecutor Jack Koester countered that Betty Housman's purse, found stained with blood, showed she had been trying to leave the house.

Betty Housman said she expected her ex-husband to be sentenced Monday, and was disappointed that she will have to wait nearly two more months for

closure.

"The waiting is very hard," Betty Housman said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent addresses

Pocahontas, Mo.

Alton, Ill.

One Barton Square, Jackson, Mo.

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