After paying a $250,000 bond to be released from Pima County jail, Oro Valley murder suspect Trevor Draegeth could be taken back into custody after he violated the conditions of his release.
Trevor, 37, is accused of killing his wife Laurie Draegeth, 40, on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 12. After Trevor called police to their home in Oro Valley, Laurie was found face up in their bed with a gunshot wound to her left eye. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Trevor told authorities that he and his wife were fighting the night before her death, but he maintains that his wife shot herself while he embraced her near their bed. Both investigators and the Pima County Medical Examiner ruled the woman’s death a homicide, not a suicide.
Pima County prosecutors are charging Trevor with first-degree murder; he has entered a not guilty plea.
His bond was originally set at $10 million cash only, but his attorney, Sean Chapman, convinced a judge to lower it significantly to $250,000 because of medical concerns.
According to court documents, Trevor was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2014. He is now largely confined to a wheelchair, although he can walk short distances. He is reportedly almost blind in one eye and has palsy in his arms and hands as a result of the disease.
Chapman argued the jail is “ill-equipped to address [Trevor’s] health concerns,” since he currently sees multiple physicians and takes several medications.
Trevor was released to pretrial services on Wednesday, April 10. The next day, he attempted to communicate with Natalie Anderson, Laurie’s sister. He sent a mobile game request with attached messages to Anderson’s boyfriend, Chris Selders, through Words With Friends, an online game that the two used to play together.
In a motion to reconsider or revoke Trevor’s conditions of release, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said the message was clearly meant for Natalie. A screenshot of the messages was included in the motion.
Trevor wrote “Hey, outta(sic) the thugs hands for now...please thank Natalie for coming and here’s a happy thought about Laurie for the day...”
Anderson emailed the screenshot to Oro Valley Detective Forrest Cook, saying the message was “seemingly benign,” but is “exactly the same passive way that he abused my sister.”
On Tuesday, April 16, six days after he was released from jail, Trevor posted a Facebook comment on a public tribute to Laurie, created by her brother.
Trevor wrote “I loved and sheltered the person who said Pennsylvania was behind her and she wanted a new life. But the teevee(sic) wants to sacrifice me in the volcano to try to understand something inexplicable. Fine, kill me if it’ll make you all happy, I loved her and you can’t change that even if you put me in lava, nice of everyone to pay attention now years later, she would have loved it if anyone had come by years before. Don’t read this, Mark, since she said from the beginning that you were too important to bother and would say no to all invitations, but surely if you believe the TV about Iraq’s WMD or whatever you can kill me and it will make everything all right.”
In her motion, LaWall argued to the judge, Jeffrey Bergin, that the Facebook message was “pointedly directed at the Victim’s family as a message, not a post of condolences or in memorium of Laurie.”
The prosecutors say these actions warrant Trevor’s conditions of release to be revoked and that he be taken back into custody. However, the conditions of release document states that Trevor is only restricted from contacting his and Laurie’s two children, who are 9 and 7 years old and are currently in custody of Trevor’s parents, Marilyn Stark and Kevin Barnett, who also live in the Tucson area.
It is not immediately known whether Trevor has tried to contact his children. A hearing is set for Monday, May 6, where Judge Bergin will decide whether Trevor’s conditions of release should be modified or revoked.