LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A man accused of the August 2017 shooting death of his wife will go to trial Friday. According to prosecutors, it was all recorded on cell phone audio.
A neighbor said she saw the police cars and ambulances the day Donita Elliott was killed. She said she knew the couple well, and spent time with them regularly. Now, her friend is dead, and her husband Patrick Elliott faces up to 85 years in prison for her murder.
"He was like a son," said neighbor Wilma Pilotte through tears Thursday. "He was that close, but so was she. We loved them both. That's the bad thing. We lost a nice neighbor."
It happened on Aug. 8th, 2017 at a home on County Road 500 South in Lafayette. Prosecutors said Elliott told investigators he shot his wife in self-defense after she threatened him with a knife.
According to court documents, Elliott said his wife's ongoing mental illness was causing problems in their marriage. As we previously reported, deputies had been at the scene for several hours before the shooting for a domestic incident.
They left around 8 p.m. that night, only to be called back five hours later for the shooting. But prosecutors said a cell phone found in the home had a recording of the shooting.
Court documents said Donita asked Patrick for help after being shot, but he refused and said he would help her after watching her die.
Prosecutors said Elliott admitted his earlier statements were untrue and admitted she did not have a knife, and that he planted the knife. He was arrested and charged with murder.
A letter was put in neighbor's mailboxes a day after Donita was shot from Patrick. It read, "Donita was saddled with mental illness. Please know that bipolar and Donita were separate entities." It later reads," I chose life and unfortunately my choice included her death. I will wear that burden and guilt forever."
Pilotte said she had seen the effects of Donita's mental illness first hand, but said she can't believe Patrick would feel no other choice but to kill his wife.
"This is out of character for Patrick," said Pilotte. "The Patrick that we knew. He never said a bad word. You couldn't have asked for a better kid."
The trial begins at 8 a.m. Friday at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. News 18 will cover the entire trial.
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