Wash. Mom Allegedly Asked Kids Not to Be Home, Then Killed Husband — But Claims Self-Defense


A Washington mother faces murder charges after allegedly shooting her husband to death during a fight, but she claims she acted in self-defense.

On Sunday, shortly after 8 p.m., police in Camas responded to a 911 call from Stephanie Westby, who was allegedly “hysterical and crying,” according to a probable cause document, local stations KPTV and KOIN report. According to the document, Westby allegedly said, “My husband and I just had a big fight. I thought he was going to kill me and I shot him,”

Deputies who subsequently responded to the home on the usually quiet cul-de-sac found Joseph Westby dead inside, KOIN reports.


Westby was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and domestic violence, local station KATU 2 reports.

Continuing to cry while she was taken into custody, she allegedly told authorities, “He attacked me and said he was going to kill me,” according to documents.

After the shooting, a detective interviewed the couple’s 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, who allegedly said their parents had no history of domestic violence, KPTV reports.

They said their mother had been depressed and that their parents had had marital issues since May, according to the probable cause document, KOIN reports.

They also told investigators their mother asked them both to be out of the house that night, the document states, KATU 2 reports.

She appeared in court on Tuesday but did not enter a plea.

She was ordered held on a $500,000 bond with stipulations including not having a firearm.

She posted bond on Tuesday night, according to the Clark County Jail.

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Westby’s lawyer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

After her court appearance, her lawyer, Steve Thayer, told reporters, “When she called 911 she reported that he was threatening to kill her and attacked her so she acted in self-defense,” KOIN reports.

Thayer said the case should be dropped because of her self-defense claim. He says she will enter a not guilty plea.

Residents told KPTV they still can’t believe what happened in their neighborhood.

“A lot of my neighbors in this cul de sac, they’re super close,” Lauren Gallas told KPTV. “I mean, they’re in shock. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening. It’s really sad, really scary. I kind of don’t know what to think. I feel really bad for everyone involved.”

Westby is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 27.