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Closing statements set for Tuesday in husband's murder trial

INDIO, Calif. - A Bermuda Dunes man accused of shooting his wife following an argument at their home testified today that he didn't plan to kill her and "lost everything" as a result.

Garey Lee Smith, 57, is charged with murder with a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a firearm in the Aug. 22, 2010, death of his 63-year-old wife, Sandra, at the couple's Trinity Circle home.

"The prosecutor said that you had a plan that night to kill your wife. Did you have a plan to kill your wife?" asked defense attorney Richard Verlato.

"Absolutely not," Smith replied.

Under questioning from Verlato, Smith testified that his wife's death didn't benefit him financially.

"Do you feel there was any good outcome that night?" Verlato asked.

"It was a horrible outcome," Smith said. "My wife, my best friend, is gone, she's not coming back. I lost my children, I lost everything."

Later, Verlato asked his client, "Mr. (prosecutor Joshua) Hill said you had no remorse. Is that true?"

"That's not true at all," Smith said.

Under cross-examination, Smith said he didn't feel remorse "every moment of every day."

"Why?" Hill asked.

"It's human nature," Smith replied.

The night she died, Sandra Smith confronted her husband at a family barbecue about "spending too much time around a female guest who was also at the location," according to the prosecution's trial brief. Garey Smith had  consumed several beers at the barbecue, the document states.

Sandra Smith wanted to leave and her husband didn't, daughter-in-law Kari Smith testified last week. He was irritated about leaving, but the couple had fought about when they would leave a gathering in the past, Kari Smith said.

Garey Smith's stepson, Eric Stidham, said he saw the couple arguing when he returned home, and his stepfather "expressed his frustration over the victim embarrassing him at the barbecue." Later that night, Stidham said he
was awakened by a noise and saw Sandra Smith lying on her side in her bedroom,
but did not see her husband. Stidham returned to bed, according to the
prosecution's trial brief.

"While Mr. Stidham was sleeping, the defendant called 911 and reported that he had shot the victim five times and that she was dead," the prosecution's trial brief alleges.

Smith told Stidham he had killed his wife, and made several statements to police about killing her after he was arrested, according to the document.

Sandra Smith was declared dead at the scene.

Her husband told a sheriff's deputy handcuffing him that "I shot my wife and the gun's in the house," the trial brief states.

Closing statements are scheduled for tomorrow morning.

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