A Missouri mother may face the death penalty for allegedly fatally shooting her husband of nine years in the back of the head as he slept in their bed, court documents show.
Melanie M. Biggins, 40, was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with one count each of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the death of Etienne L. McEwan.
Biggins Told Police She Woke Up to a Gunshot, Found Front Door Open
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Law & Crime, officers with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department responded to a shooting at a residence at approximately 1 a.m. on Aug. 31.
When they arrived, they found the couple's two young daughters, aged 10 and 11, waving their arms to flag down police. When officers entered the home and went upstairs where they found Biggins administering CPR on her husband, who was "laying on the bed in a pool of blood." Emergency Medical Services arrived at the scene a short while later and pronounced McEwan dead.
Biggins allegedly told police that she "woke up to the sound of a gunshot and noticed her husband was shot but did not see who did it." She claimed she then went downstairs and found the front door opened.
Police Found No Signs of Forced Entry, Ruled Out Suicide
Investigators said they quickly determined that the shooting was not a suicide and found no signs of forced entry. The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office found preliminarily that McEwan was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.
Evidence examined by investigators included a damaged pillow with a projectile found in the stuffing and a blanket with gunpowder burns. In a hallway closet, on the top shelf, was an empty gun case for a Charter Arms .38 Special. A .38 caliber revolver, believed by authorities to have come from the gun case, was found underneath a bunk bed in the next room with one spent cartridge inside.
Biggins' Contradictory Statements
The children told investigators that they woke up to the sound of a gunshot and when they went downstairs, they found their mother sitting on the couch, documents said. One of the girls allegedly said that Biggins looked "as if she had seen a ghost." The girls then went upstairs and entered their parents' bedroom, according to investigators.
"She entered her parents' bedroom and observed the victim lying on the bed so she turned on the lamp next to the bed. [Redacted] immediately noticed that the victim was bleeding, so she ran back into her room to call the police," the affidavit states. "[Redacted] handed the phone to BIGGINS and the call takers told her to begin CPR. While BIGGINS was doing CPR, she could hear the victim gurgling blood."
The 11-year-old told detectives, the deadbolt on the front door was undone but the handle was locked â which she described as "weird," according to court records.
In a second interview with police later that day, Biggins claimed that she was awoken by the sound of a gunshot and found her husband bleeding next to her. She allegedly said that she never left the bedroom prior to police arriving at the scene â allegedly contradicting her daughters as well as her own initial statement regarding finding the front door open.
Biggins initially stated that the only gun in the home was her husband's rifle, which was stored in the closet, according to the affidavit. When confronted with purchase records, however, she allegedly admitted to buying the .38 Special in July of 2022. Police say she was "unable to explain" how the firearm ended up under a bed in another room.
Biggins Admits She was in Intimate Relationship with Another Man
Biggins later admitted that she wanted to leave her husband for another man.
"When asked about her relationship with the victim, she said they were legally married for 9 years. Due to financial problems, she has been in an intimate relationship with another man for a year and a half," the document states. "BIGGINS has also wanted to get a divorce from the victim but due to their financial struggles, that is currently not an option."
Biggins is currently being held in Jackson County Jail on $50,000 bond. Prosecutors had requested bond be set at $250,000. If convicted of first-degree murder, Biggins faces the death penalty or life in prison.