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Crime

Ind. Man Allegedly Recorded Himself Shooting Wife and Watching Her Die as She Begged for Help

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Donita Elliott
Donita Elliott/Facebook

An Indiana man charged with murdering his wife allegedly recorded her final moments on his cell phone, including the gun shot that killed her, PEOPLE confirms.

On Tuesday, Patrick Elliott, 50, of Lafayette, Indiana, was charged with murder, providing false information and use of a firearm in connection with the Aug. 8 shooting death of his 47-year-old wife, Donita Elliott, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

During their investigation, detectives learned that Patrick activated the audio recorder on his cell phone around the time of the shooting, Indiana’s Tippecanoe County Sheriff Barry Richard tells PEOPLE.

Investigators do not know why Patrick activated the recorder. “That would be speculating,” Richard says.

But, for reasons only known to Patrick, “He didn’t delete the recording,” Richard says.

According to the affidavit of probable cause obtained by PEOPLE, the chilling recording captured conversations between Patrick and Donita before, during and after the shooting — and the moment Donita was hit by the bullet that ultimately claimed her life.

After being shot, Donita can be heard begging Patrick to help her, the affidavit states. “But he refuses and indicates he will help her after he watches her die.”

The affidavit further states the audio contradicts Patrick’s earlier statements to authorities that he shot Donita in self-defense after she came at him with a knife during an altercation.

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Patrick Elliott
Tippecanoe County Jail

‘I Chose Life,’ Says Husband

Law enforcement was called to the couple’s home about 6 p.m. Aug. 7 because of a domestic incident, Sheriff Richard tells PEOPLE.

Officers stayed for about two hours before Donita left the home.

Early the next day, Patrick called police and responding officers found Donita lying on the floor of their residence, the affidavit shows.

Patrick explained that he shot his wife in self-defense when she returned about five hours after she left the house the night before. She then grabbed a knife and came at him, he claimed, according to the affidavit.

An autopsy ruled found that Donita died from a gunshot wound to her chest, with an exit would in back, the document states.

Before his arrest, Patrick wrote in a letter to his church that Donita suffered from bipolar disorder and was having an outburst, which led to the Aug. 8 shooting, he claimed.

The Lafayette, Indiana, home where Patrick Elliott allegedly murdered his wife, Donita Elliott on Aug. 8.
Ron Wilkins/Journal & Courier

He wrote that on the night of Aug. 7, Donita left the home “in a rage, and a few hours later returned home and made a decision that unfortunately left me in a life or death situation,” the Lafayette Journal & Courier reports.

“I chose life and unfortunately my choice included her death,” Patrick wrote. “I will wear that burden and guilt forever, even though I know God knows my heart and that I am already forgiven.”

On Monday, after detectives learned about the recording and confronted Patrick about its contents, he allegedly admitted that he made up the story about Donita attacking him with the knife “because he knew he would be in trouble,” the affidavit states. It also claims he admitted he did not shoot his wife in self-defense.

He was arrested on Monday and appeared in court on Tuesday for an initial hearing. Calls to his attorney were not immediately returned.

It is unclear if he has entered a plea to his charges and he remains held in the Tippecanoe County Jail without bond.

His trial is scheduled for Nov. 21.