TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KGET) — She’d been told to keep quiet about the investigation into her ex-‘s alleged molestation of her teenage daughter. Don’t give anything away, investigators said.
But when Wendy Howard heard from another alleged victim of her ex shortly before he visited to drop off his grandson, she couldn’t contain herself any longer, recently released court documents say.
She confronted him with what she said was an inappropriate photo her daughter had provided her of the teen and her ex, Kelly Rees Pitts, 57, according to the documents. They argued, and Pitts yelled profanities and called their daughter a liar.
During the argument, Pitts drove his quad toward her and ran over her foot, she said in the documents.
That’s when Howard pulled a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun from her waistband and shot him. Pitts was taken to Kern Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Howard, 50, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. She’s held on $1 million bail.
Howard told detectives she felt threatened when she pulled the trigger in the June 5 killing. She said her Pitts had repeatedly abused her in the past.
“She said it all happened so fast and said she shot the victim,” an investigator wrote in the documents. “She said she felt threatened and felt the victim was going to do something to her.”
Pitts suffered a gunshot wound to the center of his upper chest, another through the center of his neck and a bullet graze to his cheek, according to the documents. He was frantic and running in circles screaming he was going to die when police arrived.
Officers had to physically restrain him to begin providing aid. He died later that day.
Asked why she didn’t run inside her home after shooting Pitts the first time, Howard said she didn’t know. She thought she should stand her ground, she told police.
She acknowledged Pitts was not aggressive after being shot, and was not armed, but said she considered his hands weapons, according to the documents.
At times during her interview, Pitts placed her face in her hands and made noises that sounded like she was crying, an investigator wrote in the court filings.
But the detective indicated her sadness seemed more like a performance.
“When (Howard) looked up, she had no tears in her eyes,” the detective wrote. “The suspect appeared to me, to be trying to be dramatic in the story she told and did not seem genuine in her distress, as she told her story.”
Howard told police Pitts had previously been charged with seven felonies in Ventura County for allegedly trying to kill and rape her, the documents say, but the charges were dismissed.
Also included in the court documents are a 2006 report regarding molestation allegations against Pitts with another daughter of Howard, and the report filed three days before his death.
In the most recent report, the daughter said Pitts pleasured himself in front of her, and at times touched her.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Howard’s daughters to help pay her legal fees. As of Friday afternoon, $871 had been raised.
Howard’s next court hearing is set for July 29.