Md. Woman Killed Her Fiancé, But She Claims He Was Abusive and Threatened Her Life

Michelle Leigh Handorf allegedly told police she "just wanted [her fiancé] to stop hurting her"

Michelle Leigh Handorf, 37
Photo: Frederick County Sheriff's Office

A Maryland woman is accused of murdering her fiancé, but she claims he was abusive and threatened her life.

Michelle Leigh Handorf, 37, of Knoxville, Maryland, was charged Tuesday with first- and second-degree murder, as well as use of a firearm in a felony crime of violence, according to online court records viewed by PEOPLE.

Authorities allege that Handorf killed Wesley Alan Gibson early Tuesday before calling 911 to report the deadly incident. (Gibson’s age was not immediately available.)

According to the Frederick News-Post, EMTs and police arrived to find Handorf applying pressure to the gunshot wound on Gibson’s chest. Police later learned Gibson was also shot in the right hand.

Gibson died soon after being transported to the hospital, and Handorf was taken into custody.

The News-Post, citing charging documents, reports that Handorf alleged to detectives Gibson suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was often abusive. However, she allegedly said she’d never fought back before.

Handorf allegedly told deputies she “just wanted [Gibson] to stop hurting her,” according to the documents.

The charging documents allege Handorf told police Gibson verbally abused her over two days last week, and then started slapping her and pulling her hair over the weekend. She alleged that the abuse intensified and led to physical threats against her life.

Over the weekend, she alleged Gibson choked her, extinguished a cigarette in her right hand and threw her down the stairs. Handorf, the documents state, told police the violence and threats continued into Monday evening.

According to the documents, Handorf allegedly told authorities she hid Gibson’s handgun as he was showering late Monday night. Upset, he demanded to know where the weapon was, the documents state.

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She retrieved the weapon, bringing it to Gibson, whom she allegedly said got “a crazy look in his eye.” Handorf said she was sure Gibson was going to kill her, so she fired the weapon when he took a step towards her, the documents state.

The documents state that an examination of Handorf’s body showed “some small bruises on her forearm” and “some loose hair coming out of her” head, but “nothing extensive.”

PEOPLE was unable to determine if Handorf has entered pleas to the charges she faces.

She is being held without bond and it was unclear Friday who her attorney is.

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