Woman accused of shooting husband held for court

Former Texas resident allegedly shot husband in South Strabane Twp. dispute

March 25, 2013
Latasha Stapp is escorted from her preliminary hearing Monday. - Kathie O. Warco / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The South Strabane Township police detective who arrested the township woman accused of shooting her husband earlier this month testified Monday the victim thought his wife had a surprise for him when she allegedly shot him in the chest. The couple’s two young children were in another room in the apartment when shots were fired.

Latasha Stapp, 26, of 3008 Clubhouse Circle, is charged with one count each of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, discharging a firearm in an occupied structure and four counts of reckless endangerment in the March 12 shooting of 27-year-old Tyler Stapp inside their apartment. She was ordered held for court Monday by District Judge Jay Weller following a preliminary hearing.

Tyler Stapp was shot three times in the chest and abdomen and once in the palm of his hand. That shot traveled through his forearm and exited near his elbow. He was flown to UPMC-Presbyterian hospital after the shooting. He has since been discharged from the hospital but is still receiving treatment.

Latasha Stapp told Detective Ken Torboli the couple had been having marital problems. She said her husband called her several times from work the day of the shooting and was concerned she was going to leave with the children. When he came home from work about 4:15 p.m., she said he appeared agitated and they argued. She also alleged he pulled her hair and then slapped and punched her in the face, Torboli testified.

The two reportedly went back to the living room, where the children were watching television. About 6 p.m., Tyler Stapp laid down in a bedroom usually occupied by his father and took a nap, according to police. Latasha Stapp said she took a walk in the neighborhood and called her boyfriend in Texas. She reportedly had just moved to the Stone Creek apartment complex.

Latasha Stapp told Torboli when she went back, she retrieved a 9mm handgun from her car and put it under a pillow in the couple’s bedroom.

“She said that he came in the bedroom, crawled on top of her and started kissing her,” Torboli said. “She told him she had a headache. She retrieved the handgun and shot him while he was on top of her. She fired another round as he tried to run out of the bedroom.”

A neighbor, Joshua Deter, said he was getting ready to take a shower at his apartment at 3108 Clubhouse when he heard his wife screaming. He said he then saw Tyler Stapp standing in his master bedroom, bleeding. He had a powder burn in the middle of his white T-shirt, Deter said. According to Deter, Stapp apparently forced his way into the apartment, looking for help.

“Tyler said, ‘She shot me,’” Deter testified.

Township police Sgt. Drew Hilk said when he arrived, he followed a blood trail inside 3108 Clubhouse and found Tyler Stapp sitting on a bed wearing a blood-soaked T-shirt. His wife was taken into custody outside the apartment.

Trooper Jason Altman of the state police forensics services unit testified he found 9mm shell casings inside the Stapps’ apartment, and a weapon believed to have been used in the shooting was found in bushes outside the building.

Tyler Stapp told a different story to Torboli, who interviewed him in the hospital six days after the shooting.

“He said there was no argument,” Torboli said. “The kids were playing in the living room.”

According to Stapp, he and his wife were on a bed in a bedroom.

“He said they were kissing when she told him to close his eyes because she had a surprise for him,” Torboli testified. “He knew she reached behind herself, but he didn’t know for what because his eyes were closed. Then he heard the gunshot. She continued to shoot at him as he tried to summon help from the neighbors.”

Latasha Stapp was returned to the Washington County jail, where she is being held on $250,000 bond.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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