Attorney says wife of slain JP officer is innocent

GRETNA - The attorney representing the wife of a slain JPSO sergeant said he was close friends with the couple and he said there is no way that Shantel Wagner shot her husband, Troy Smith.

"It's pretty clear to me, and it breaks my heart. But it's the truth," Attorney Leo Palazzo said.

A truth, Palazzo strongly feels is not being told.

"He thought she was leaving him. And she was leaving him, for that night because he was not in his right mind," Palazzo said.

Wagner worked in his office as a receptionist for one year. Palazzo says Wagner is not capable of killing her husband. All of this is playing out one day after Jefferson Parish deputies arrested Wagner for murder. Sergeant Smith was found shot in the head at the couple's home on Camellia Lane in Waggaman on Father's Day. Palazzo says Smith was struggling with issues that weren't visible.

"He was under a tremendous, I mean a tremendous amount of stress. Both financially, mentally, emotionally. And, he broke," Palazzo said.

According to investigators, Wagner called 911 and reported her husband shot himself in the head. He was taken to the hospital where he died. Members of local law enforcement say it's a big loss for Jefferson Parish.

"There will not be another Troy Smith come along, and certainly not another father for his children," Donovan Livaccari, with the Fraternal Order of Police said.

Less than a month later, authorities say Wagner was the one who shot Smith. They tell us forensic evidence and interviews determined Smith's injury could not have been a suicide. A neighbor tells us on the day of the shooting, the couple was outside arguing,

Palazzo says it was captured on camera.

"You're gonna find out there was a video, that showed that she went to the house. She was trying to leave. He came out, grabbed her. (He) took away her phone, purse, brought it back into the house. She followed him into the house. He threw it all on the ground, and he said, 'If you're gonna leave me, I might as well just kill myself. And he shot himself," Palazzo said.

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