Murder charge against Visalia man thrown out

September 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A South Valley judge has thrown out a murder charge against a man accused of killing his wife five years ago.

Police arrested 51-year-old Terry Geller earlier this year for the murder of his wife.

Tena Geller's body was found in the bathroom of the couple's Visalia home in 2007. Investigators say her husband pulled the trigger.

Terry Geller's family says they plan to post the $80 thousand bail Monday evening. His family says he's they're confident Tena Geller's death was a horrible accident.

Frankie Johnson is relieved her brother-in-law Terry Geller was not charged with murder in the death of her sister, Tena.

"It's part of the peace process - we've been asking for my sister and once this is all over she will be at peace but right now at least we got a start on it to get him home where he belongs with his family and kids," Johnson said.

Investigators were called to the couple's home in September of 2007 after they say Geller made a 911 call claiming he had accidentally shot and killed his wife. Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom Monday where prosecutors argued Geller intended to murder his wife of more than 20 years. But his defense attorney argued Geller was a loving husband who accidentally pulled the trigger.

"I have never had a homicide case where the entire family of both the defendant and victim were on his side," defense attorney Michael Idiart said.

Geller now faces an involuntary manslaughter charge but prosecutors say they still plan on moving forward on the murder charge.

"It's our intent to file murder charges again against the defendant because we feel the evidence did show that he actually committed murder," Tulare County Assistant D.A. Shani Jenkins said.

Geller is due back in court on October 16.


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