Keeva Ann Delaney (Wilson), 20, 205 Edna Court, Apt. 94 — charged with voluntary manslaughter and four counts of felony reckless endangerment after the June 6 early morning shooting at her apartment — told police the gun accidentally went off after her husband hit her in the face and she fell backward, according to a police investigator’s testimony during Wednesday’s preliminary hearing in Sessions Court.
Police officers responded to the shooting call at Delaney’s apartment around 3:45 a.m. and found 26-year-old Aaron Delaney lying on a bedroom floor, suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, police said. Aaron Delaney was pronounced dead at the scene.
While there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, Keeva Delaney’s cousin, Deion Hartley testified at the preliminary hearing that he was trying to sleep in the living room when Aaron Delaney arrived home from work around 2:30 a.m. He was supposed to have gotten off work at 1 a.m., and Keeva Delaney was apparently upset that he was so late, according to what she told a police investigator.
Hartley said his cousin and her husband had an “off-and-on” relationship.
“They was together at the time,” Hartley said. “They was still married but it was off and on for a long time.”
When Aaron Delaney got home, he and Keeva began to argue, Hartley said.
“Something about somebody coming to see him at his job,” Hartley testified. He fell back asleep, but the arguing escalated and woke him again as the couple moved the fight outside, he said.
“I heard a ruckus like somebody was moving something around. They came back in and the argument had escalated to where he was furious, she was furious, they was talking about his lip being busted. They was arguing over a girl that had came to see him at work.”
Hartley said he continued to hear scuffling noises and voices coming from his cousin’s bedroom.
“Then I heard something about, ‘I’m going to shoot you.’ It came out of her mouth,” Hartley said. Then he heard Aaron Delaney tell his wife to ‘shoot me. Shoot me right here.’ Then the gun went off. The bullet went through the wall into the living room and busted a light.”
Glass shattered and sprayed onto Hartley and his girlfriend, he said. He went to his cousin’s bedroom, where she, her husband and her 10-month-old child were, and saw Aaron Delaney lying in the floor, but said he didn’t see a weapon.
“I got the baby and took her to the neighbor,” Hartley said. He returned and got Delaney’s older child and took her to the neighbor as well, he said.
Johnson City Police Investigator Matt Keller said he interviewed Hartley, his girlfriend and Keeva Delaney. Delaney told him that her husband got a text from another woman while the couple was arguing about him being late. She was going to take Aaron to his mother’s house and decided to make him walk while she transported his belongings in her car. But she stopped the car and let him in, then pulled into a parking lot and the argument continued.
Keller read the statement Keeva Delaney gave him. In part it said:
“While we were there arguing, he was hitting me and choking me. I couldn’t call 911 because I didn’t have a phone. He calmed down. We were hugging. I drove us back to the apartment and when we arrived we began arguing again. We got out of the car and walked to the door. He started punching me and choking me again. He threw the neighbor’s table that was sitting outside. I unlocked the door and we went into the apartment. We went back to the bedroom and continued arguing.
“While we were arguing he said, ‘I’m going to kill you, bitch’ and he was going to get the gun. I have a Hi Point 9.95 in my closet. … I have it because of domestic problems I’ve had. I told him not to touch the guns and he continued as if he was going to get it. I was the closest to the closet where it is kept and reached in and grabbed it first. I picked it up and had my right hand underneath the stock and my left hand underneath the rail.”
Keeva Delaney told Keller she was going to lock the gun up in her car.
“When I got it he was right next to me. He said, ‘are you going to shoot me,’ and hit me in the face. When he did, I fell back and the gun went off and Aaron was shot in the chest. I threw the gun down and helped Aaron to the ground. I asked Amber and Deion to call 911. I held Aaron’s wounds to stop the bleeding until help arrived.”
On cross examination by defense attorney Bill McManus, Keller testified the trajectory of the bullet that went through the bedroom wall and into the living room was in an upward direction. McManus indicated that was consistent with Keeva Delaney’s claim that she was falling back as the gun went off.
Keller had testified that he didn’t see any indication when he interviewed Keeva Delaney that she had been choked. McManus introduced two photographs he said were taken two days after the shooting which Keller agreed showed marks on Delaney’s neck that could be consistent with being choked.
After testimony, McManus asked Sessions Judge Don Arnold to consider dismissing three of the reckless endangerment counts because there could be only one charge arising from the same incident regardless of the number of victims. Assistant District Attorney General Michael Rasnake agreed, so Arnold dismissed the three counts.
He did, however, find probable cause to send the other two charges — voluntary manslaughter and felony reckless endangerment — to a grand jury. Arnold also granted a defense motion to reduce Delaney’s $140,000 bond, and he set it at $60,000.
Delaney is scheduled to appear in Washington County Criminal Court Sept. 23.