Dateline: Unforgettable is re-examining the bizarre death of Debbie Kelly, who was gunned down by her husband, Lars Itzo, in their home in San Antonio, Texas.
Itzo was convicted of manslaughter and maintains that the shooting was an accident. He claimed he thought his 48-year-old wife was an intruder.
On October 10, 2015, Itzo dialed 911, stating that his wife had been shot and needed urgent care. The 911 operator advised Itzo on how to perform CPR, but unfortunately, Debbie soon died of her injuries. She had been shot once with a sawn-off shotgun.
Itzo claimed that he woke up in the middle of the night and thought he saw an intruder looming in the hallway by his bedroom door. He assumed Debbie was in the bed beside him, so he grabbed his gun and fired.
The shooter said he only realized he’d shot his wife when he heard her moan. In court, he called it “the worst day of my life.”
However, the police were suspicious that the shooting was an accident. They thought Itzo’s grief seemed a bit forced on the night of Debbie’s death, like he was only pretending to be upset.
Prosecution suspected Lars Itzo of deliberately killing Debbie Kelly
Prosecution lawyers would later argue that Itzo had intended to kill his wife. They said his hands were clean, and there were no bloody footprints surrounding Debbie’s remains, suggesting he had lied about trying to save her.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
However, the prosecutors failed to find an adequate motive for murder.
After a week-long trial, a jury convicted Itzo of manslaughter. The jury reconvened a few days later to issue a sentence, a decision that caused them difficulty. At one point, they told the judge they were deadlocked.
Manslaughter is classed as a second-degree felony in Texas, meaning he could have received up to 20 years behind bars. However, the jury eventually decided on 15 years. He was also fined $10,000.
Itzo must serve at least 50% of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Debbie Kelly parents thought Lars Itzo sentence was too lenient
At the sentencing testimony, Debbie’s mother, Anne Kelly, told the court, “Personally, I would like to take a gun and shoot him.”
She added, “I just don’t know why someone would not take three seconds to reach over and make sure your wife was next to you. It doesn’t make any sense to me, Lars.”
Debbie’s father, Jim Kelly, echoed these sentiments and lamented that he hadn’t spent more time with his daughter.
Dateline: Unforgettable airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.