In December 2001, a 20-year-old man was gunned down inside a home in the small northwest Iowa town of Early.
The woman who shot him said that it was in self-defense, that he and another man had broken into the house while her husband was out of town and that she was defending her three children.
On Tuesday, investigators from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure pulled over 45-year-old Tracey A. Richter near 180th Street and West Center Road. They arrested her on a warrant charging her with first-degree murder in the death.
Richter, 4717 S. 194th Ave., soon will appear before a Douglas County judge at a hearing seeking her extradition to Iowa.
Officials say she has lived in Omaha for at least four years.
Iowa criminal investigators began re-examining the shooting in February 2009.
A month later, Richter grabbed the attention of Douglas County authorities. According to court records, she called to report that her Lexus ES350 had been broken into and said she suspected her husband, with whom she was involved in a child custody dispute.
Inside her sedan, investigators say they found a photo that piqued their curiosity. It was a crime-scene photo from the fatal shooting of Dustin Wehde — the young man who was killed, a man the woman's then-husband, Michael Roberts, had been trying to help. (The photo was later found to have come from a court file.)
Not long after Wehde's shooting, the couple appeared on Montel Williams' TV talk show in a segment called "True Crime: An Invitation to Kill."
On the show, Richter, known then as Tracey Roberts, gave a taped account of what happened that December night and then appeared with her husband and talked with Williams.
She said she was getting ready to draw her 1-year-old daughter's bath when she heard people downstairs. She said she made eye contact with the intruders as they ascended the stairs.
She said she got her daughter into her sons' room, but before she could get into the room herself she was grabbed by her hair and choked until she passed out.
When she woke up, she went down the hallway toward her sons' room. She said she saw a figure as she approached, so she turned and ran toward a bedroom where her husband kept his gun.
"I dove down into there, and in the dark I'm fumbling for this, the gun safe, and I'm trying to unlock it with the combination while someone is grabbing at my legs," she said on the show.
"Finally I got it to open, and I reached in and grabbed the handgun that was closest to the top. I kind of turned towards the direction again of the person who was grabbing at me and just started firing."
Richter said she then caught a glimpse of "a shadow" running out the door. She said she went to check on her children, and when she came back she could see the wounded person trying to get up.
She told the man not to move, to just stay down.
"(He) kept getting up, and I fired with the gun in my right hand almost just more as a — a warning ... (then) I fired with the gun from my left hand."
Richter was not charged in the case, and Wehde's family eventually filed a civil suit saying she failed to leave the scene or cease shooting after Wehde no longer was a threat. The civil suit said Wehde was shot three or four times in the back of the head with a revolver.
The suit, which sought damages for lost future earnings as well as for pain and suffering, was later dismissed.
In Omaha, authorities investigating the 2009 vehicle break-in found that Richter had tried using an Iowa driver's license under a different identity to obtain financing to buy a Lexus. She was arrested on suspicion of criminal impersonation, theft by deception and welfare fraud. She later pleaded no contest to welfare fraud, and the other charges were dismissed.
In connection with that case, charges also were brought against her in Iowa, and she was convicted in 2010 by a jury in Clay County, Iowa, of vehicle licensing perjury.
In both cases, she received three years of probation.
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