Kalispell, Montana

Ordinarily, pleading no contest or guilty would knock someone right out of the running for further claiming self-defense, but the husband’s conduct was violent and threatening.

From the Daily InterLakePublication of June XX, 2007

Shooter gets no jail time

Braunig-Haag claimed self-defense in death of husband

A North Fork woman who shot her husband to death will serve no jail time.

In a deal worked out between County Attorney Ed Corrigan and defense attorneys Patrick Sherlock and Sean Hinchey, District Court Judge Kitty Curtis sentenced Rebecca Braunig-Haag to a 10-year suspended sentence with 10 years probation Thursday.

Originally charged with deliberate homicide, she pleaded “no contest” to an amended charge of negligent homicide in April.

“She does have a claim for self-defense,” Corrigan said. “She, quite frankly, is unlikely to incur a further criminal history. I do believe the conviction for negligent homicide holds her accountable.”

In a statement to the judge, Braunig-Haag said she was sorry and that she loved her husband.

“I was so scared I picked up the gun to keep him from killing us,” she said. “More than anything, I didn’t want to shoot him.”

At the sentencing hearing, defense attorneys called a number of witnesses, including neighbors and family members, who testified to Braunig-Haag’s remorse, good character, and mental health. A private investigator hired by the defense also testified to events that occurred the day Braunig-Haag’s husband died.

Braunig-Haag was 51 at the time she shot her husband, Von Stanley Haag, 60, in the chest with a .44 caliber Magnum.

She told investigators he had threatened to burn down their home if she didn’t accompany him on a trip to Texas to attend his father’s funeral.

Braunig-Haag and her husband had both retired from supervisory jobs with the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department a year or two before the shooting, according to reports.

They began spending more time at their home in the Trail Creek area, but also maintained a home in San Antonio.

The Nov. 7, 2005, argument over whether or not to attend the funeral escalated to the point where Braunig-Haag said she feared her husband would burn the house down. He threatened her and poured gasoline throughout the house, she told police.

That’s when she shot him and called neighbors for help, reports said.

Flathead County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Braunig-Haag and she originally was charged with murder. Bond was set at $500,000 in her November 2005 arraignment, but was later reduced to $50,000 in January 2006.

Had Judge Curtis decided to give Braunig-Haag prison time, she would have been allowed to withdraw her “no contest” plea and gone to trial. If convicted of deliberate homicide, she could have been sentenced to life or up to 100 years in prison. Two to 10 years could have been added for use of a firearm. The maximum sentence for negligent homicide is 20 years in prison.

From Corpus Christi’s (TX) KRIStv.com of June 15, 2007

Woman gets suspended sentence in husband’s shooting death

A former Texas resident who said she accidentally shot her husband during a domestic altercation in 2005 was sentenced Thursday to probation.

Rebecca Braunig-Haag, 52, originally was charged with murder in the death of Von S. Haag, 60, but she later pleaded no contest to negligent homicide.

Following the terms of the plea agreement, District Judge Kitty Curtis gave Braunig-Haag a 10-year suspended sentence with 10 years of probation Thursday.

“She does have a claim for self-defense,” Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said. “She, quite frankly, is unlikely to incur a further criminal history. I do believe the conviction for negligent homicide holds her accountable.”

Braunig-Haag was arrested in November 2005 after deputies found Von Haag dead of a gunshot wound at the couple’s home on the western edge of Glacier National Park.

Braunig-Haag went to a neighbor’s house to report the shooting. She told investigators that her husband, in a rage, had poured gasoline around the house and threatened to set it on fire if she didn’t accompany him to his father’s funeral in Texas.

She said she picked up a gun and pointed it at him when it discharged.

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