A newspaper distributor accused of shooting his wife to death as she slept in their home in Mount Airy, Md., was denied bond yesterday.

The couple's three children are in the custody of their paternal grandparents.

Anne Rita Downs, 30, was found dead at 4 a.m. Wednesday in the second-floor master bedroom of the couple's two-story home. She was shot once in the back of the head as she slept, police said.

Edwin F. Downs Jr., 31, has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, using a handgun in the commission of a felony and battery, and is being held without bond at the Carroll County jail.

The children -- Tony, 8; Jeff, 4; and Rebecca, 7 months -- were asleep when their mother was shot. They were not harmed, police said.

Police said they have not established a motive for the shooting.

Downs, an independent newspaper distributor for The Washington Post in Montgomery County, told police before his wife's body was discovered that he was delivering newspapers in Gaithersburg when two shots were fired by someone in a car that drove up alongside him.

Downs said he last saw his wife alive at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, before he left for work, court records said.