Raymond Lazarine, 67, admitted in his Houston trial, which began Monday, that he killed his wife of 35 years, Deborah, in December 2013. But his attorneys contend that what he did was involuntary.
Lazarine called his son at work on the day of the murder, telling him he’d had a dream that he killed his wife, according to the defense team.
When Nathan Lazarine arrived at the home, he said he found his mother dead on the living room floor. She had been shot six times. Raymond told his son and police that he felt like he was in a dream, officials said. His attorneys said he has a medical condition which causes him to sleepwalk, leaving him unable to tell the difference, according to KTRK.
“Our position over here is this was a dream and it wasn’t voluntary,” attorney Feroz F. Merchant told KPRC. “And he does, we’ve had him evaluated, and obviously the experts are going to come by and say hey, we think he suffers from a medical condition where it’s involuntary.”
Krysta Johns, 46, daughter of Deborah and stepdaughter of Raymond, described him as abusive and a heavy drinker. She said Raymond was controlling and had threatened to kill her mother so many times she was no longer afraid of the threat.
Johns described an incident when she was in high school and her mother had a hangover and asked Raymond for a glass of water. When she asked him for a different cup, Johns said Raymond held Deborah down and put a gun under her chin.
The defense called four men to testify who had been incarcerated with Lazarine. They each told of episodes in which Lazarine would sleepwalk, both day and night.
The defense then brought Gayland Machala to the witness stand. He testified that in 2015 he gave Lazarine two sleep study tests. “He did have a lot of movement in REM. In REM, you are not supposed to be able to move. In REM, you are supposed to be paralyzed,” said Machala.
Lazirine’s son testified his father had been prescribed psychotropic drugs, which he sometimes mixed with alcohol.
Lazirine ran and owned an electrical contracting business. He’d been married to his wife for three and a half decades and had no serious run-ins with the law in that time. He faces life in prison if convicted.