After a months-long fight over her boyfriend's alleged infidelity, a Silver Spring woman told police that she fatally shot him this weekend out of "fear, anger and humiliation," according to a court document.
Dale Pate Hicks, 52, was charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Daniel Lee Shuler, 39. Montgomery County District Judge Patricia L. Mitchell set bail yesterday at $150,000.
Hicks's attorney, Tara Harrison, said her client acted in self-defense when she shot Shuler in the stomach Saturday morning.
"The charging document filed by the state makes clear that Mr. Shuler had engaged in a violent physical assault on Ms. Hicks, and we look forward to presenting evidence that explains the circumstances surrounding this incident," Harrison said.
A statement filed by police offers this description of the incident:
Hicks and Shuler had been dating for about two years. He moved into her two-story house, in the 12300 block of Herrington Manor Drive, about six months into the relationship.
Over the past four months, "their relationship had begun to deteriorate after Hicks confronted Shuler with evidence that he was involved in a relationship with another woman," the charging document says.
On Friday night, an argument turned physical. That night, Hicks told Shuler to find another place to live, according to the document. The fight escalated the next morning. At one point, Hicks told police, her boyfriend pushed her "over and on top of a glass coffee table, causing it to shatter," the document says. Shuler later threw her onto the bed and assaulted her, Hicks told police.
At that time, Hicks grabbed a handgun she kept hidden between the mattress and the box spring in the upstairs bedroom, tucked it into a pocket of her pants and walked downstairs. Hicks told police Shuler grabbed her and threw her to the floor. She stood up and walked toward the kitchen. Shuler followed her to the kitchen.
"She was scared that Shuler was going to physically assault her again and, therefore, she pulled the handgun from her pocket and fired it once -- striking Shuler and causing him to fall to the floor," the document says Hicks told police.
Shuler then placed the gun on the dining room table, called 911 and told a dispatcher she had shot her boyfriend.
Officers who arrived at the scene found Shuler lying on the kitchen floor, unresponsive, with a gunshot wound in his lower abdomen. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hicks works at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring in a support-staff capacity, Harrison said. Shuler was a longtime employee who worked as a file clerk in the medical imaging department, said hospital spokesman Michael Hall. He said he could not discuss Hicks's employment.
Neighbor Seth Sapong, 42, said he never saw signs of trouble at Hicks's residence.
"When I heard he was shot, I was shocked," said Sapong, who was not close to the couple. "He was so quiet. Nobody could figure it out."