Sleepwalking Defense

Deborah Lazarine, 63, was shot in December 2013 by Raymond Lazarine, 67, whose trial started Monday.

The murder happened in December of 2013, but the trial just started on Monday.  Raymond Lazarine, now 67, stands accused of killing his wife, an accusation that he doesn't deny.  What he does deny though, is responsibility for his actions.


Retired Houston Homicide Detective Fil Waters spent some time on the stand earlier this week.  As one of the investigators that initially handled the case, he stated that Lazarine had "mentioned something there that was more of an off-the-wall comment about, 'This is like a dream I wish I could wake up from.'"


Lazarine's defense attorney, however, is saying that his client is not responsible for the death of his wife of 35 years because he was sleepwalking at the time that he shot her six times in their home, including twice in the head and once in the back.


"Our position over here is this was a dream and it wasn't voluntary," Lazarine's attorney, Feroz F. Merchant said.  "We've had him evaluated, and obviously the experts are going to come by and say, 'Hey, we think he suffers from a medical condition where it's involuntary.'"


During the trial, defense called several of Lazarine's former cell mates to the stand who described him sleepwalking during the day and night.


Also called to the stand was his son, Nathan Lazarine, who testified that his father had been under the care of a psychiatrist for over a decade and was prescribed psychotropic drugs which he sometimes mixed with alcohol.


Krysta Johns, 46, Deborah's daughter and step-daughter of Lazarine described her step-father as abusive, controlling, and a heavy drinker that had threatened to kill her mother so many times that Deborah no longer feared his threats.


The defense has already rested their case and today, the prosecution called a sleep specialist to the stand.


If convicted, Lazarine faces the possibility of life in prison.