A Texas woman has released video of her husband being shot to death by his ex-wife’s boyfriend during a custody fight. She claims the video shows that her husband was murdered, but the shooter’s attorney says it shows his client was acting in self defense.
The woman also has filed a petition for custody of her husband’s children. She alleges that the children are in danger simply by being in the presence of the man who killed their father and that her husband’s ex-wife conspired with the shooter to either assault or kill him.
Jennifer Read, of Lubbock, appears to have been sitting inside a vehicle as she watched Kyle Carruth shoot her husband Chad Read to death on Nov. 5. The men were fighting over the time Chad was supposed to take custody of his youngest son, whom he shared with Kyle’s girlfriend Christina Read.
‘Oh My God, You Really Did It!’
The full video taken by Jennifer Read shows Chad Read and Carruth exchanging words on and near a porch in front of a Carruth’s house. A third person, apparently Chad’s ex-wife Christina, is also in front of the porch holding a cell phone.
“Get off of my property,” Carruth tells Chad. Chad is seen pointing his finger close to Carruth’s face. He then takes steps toward Christina, who simultaneously takes a few steps backward.
Carruth then goes into the house, and Chad and Christina are seen and heard fighting. Chad is heard telling Christina that he has called the police to her mother’s house because he believes his son was there. Based on the video, Chad was supposed to get his son starting at 3:15, but Christina was working until after that time and wanted to see her son before the handover.
“I don’t care if you wanted to see him or not, I get him at 3:15,” Chad says to Christina. “You want to see him, see him before 3:15. You keep trying keep my son from me. I’m fixing to drag you, and Ann-Marie, and everybody else into court.”
Ann-Marie Carruth is reportedly Kyle’s estranged wife.
Carruth then emerges from the house carrying a gun.
“I’m glad this is on video, I’m very glad,” he says, appearing to point toward the cell phone Jennifer is holding.
“I am too!” Chad responds.
“Leave!” Carruth yells at Chad.
“Get down and fucking use it, motherfucker!” Chad then yells at Carruth. “I’ll take it from you and fucking use it on you!”
At this point, Chad has stepped up on to Carruth’s porch, and the two have made physical contact: Chad has pushed his chest into Carruth, and the mens’ noses are nearly touching.
“Call 911,” someone behind the cell phone recording the fight is heard saying repeatedly.
Chad is seen trying to push aside the barrel of the gun. Carruth appears to respond by shooting into the porch near Chad’s foot. Someone behind the cell phone says “Call 911!” again.
Chad is then seen grabbing the gun and using it to turn Carruth and push him off the porch. Carruth then turns and fires two shots in Chad’s direction; Chad is not seen on video as the bullets strike his body. However, the video then shows Chad lying on the porch bleeding. He does not move. Carruth walks back up to the porch and stands near Chad’s motionless body. He turns toward Jennifer, who is heard saying: “I have it on video, Kyle. You did it, not him.”
Carruth shakes his head and looks directly at Jennifer.
“I told you,” he said, wagging his finger. “I told all of ya’ll to leave.”
“We came to get his son,” Jennifer said.
“He’s not here,” Carruth responded.
“She should have told that,” Jennifer said. Carruth is still standing next to Chad’s body, holding the gun. Chad still hasn’t moved. No one has come to his aid.
“None of ya’ll should be here!” Carruth is heard yelling. Christina is seen taking a few more steps backward and sinking to the ground.
“I asked you to leave, I did everything,” Carruth said. “I didn’t want to do any of this.”
The screen then goes black, but the audio is still on.
“Kyle Carruth just shot my husband,” Jennifer is heard saying. Seconds later, a distraught woman is heard screaming “Oh my God, you really did it!”
In her affidavit, Jennifer says that she didn’t realize at the time that Carruth had been using an actual gun; she says thought it was a “some type of stun-gun or paintball gun” because the sound of the shots “was very muffled and not as loud as I know firearms to be.”
An Alleged ‘Justified Homicide’
Kyle Carruth was first identified as the man who shot Chad Read in Nov. 8 filing by Ann-Marie Carruth in the couple’s divorce case.
Ann-Marie Carruth, Kyle’s estranged wife, is a district court judge appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The Lubbock County District Attorney had previously handed the case over to state Attorney General Ken Paxton‘s office, stating in a motion that the “suspect is related to a Lubbock County elected official, who is also a potential witness.”
In an affidavit, Ann-Marie said that she had been “notified that my husband, William Kyle Carruth, is under investigation for the shooting and killing of his girlfriend’s children’s father after he attempted to pick up his children late Friday afternoon. My knowledge of the incident is very limited at this time and it is my understanding that the police are still investigating,” according to a report in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which reviewed the document.
Ann-Marie Carruth also said in the affidavit that she was “very concerned about [Kyle’s] mental state.”
So far, there have been no charges files or arrests made in the case, according to a report by local NBC affiliate KCBD.
Kyle Carruth’s attorney, David M. Guinn, said that Jennifer’s video “confirms the Lubbock Police’s thorough work reflects this as a justified homicide,” according to the KCBD report.
Guinn also released a video of the incident from a different angle.
“When a trespassing Chad Read advanced on Mr. Carruth, who was standing within feet of the front door of his home and office, employees there, Mr. Read said I’ll take your gun and effing kill you with it and then tried to. It was then and only then did that gun get pointed at Mr. Read at the fatal moment,” Guinn said, according to the KCBD report. “Mr. Read had every opportunity to leave, to try to escalate the situation. He was threatening to others. Police had been called and he knew that, Mr. Carruth came out the door, the gun pointed in the air and told him to leave. Most people would have.”
“Mr. Read then chose to advance on Mr. Carruth, they were face to face,” Guinn continued, according to the television station’s report. “Mr. Read said he’d take the gun and kill him with it. The gun went off into the patio, that still did not deter Mr. Read, who then grabbed the gun and tried to kill Kyle.”
Guinn says Carruth holds a valid defense under the Castle Doctrine, the KCBD report said. Guinn also said that he is looking forward to the Attorney General’s office investigating and presenting the case to a grand jury in Lubbock. He hopes that “upon careful review of the law,” his client will not be indicted.
“Everyone wishes there could have been an alternative solution and it never would have happened. It’s affecting him too,” Guinn said, again according to the television station. “You know, we’re thinking about that poor 11 year old stepson. And he’s just a kid stuck in the backseat of Chad Read’s truck and Chad chose to drive out to the seven and a half acre property. You know, it’s still playing through Kyle’s mind. And that is not an easy memory for anyone, even if, just because it’s legally right, doesn’t mean it’s not without psychological and practical consequence.”
Jennifer Read’s attorney, Matthew L. Harris, disagrees.
“As to the video released by Mr. Guinn, I believe that it bolsters Mrs. Read’s contention that this was an unjustified killing,” Harris said in an email to Law&Crime. “You can see from that video that Mr. Read’s hands were at his side, that Mr. Read was standing 10-15 feet away, and posed no threat to Mr. Carruth after Mr. Carruth ran away. Mr. Carruth did not fear for his life, or else he would have said that instead of literally wagging his finger at the wife that he just made a widow and complaining about how they weren’t supposed to be there.”
Harris said that a claim of self-defense “isn’t justified under the castle doctrine if someone is engaged in a crime. In Texas, Under Texas Penal Code 25.03, Interference With Child Custody is a State Jail Felony. It isn’t justified if the shooter provoked the confrontation.”
Harris added that Carruth’s video, which was “edited” and shows only “a small portion of the interaction,” reveals that “Mr. Read’s custody of his child was being interfered with, and that Mr. Carruth provoked the confrontation by brandishing a firearm at a custody exchange, and then firing at Mr. Read’s feet.”
Harris noted to Law&Crime that “Mr. Guinn is a fantastic criminal defense attorney with a lengthy career of defending some of the most heinous crimes that people can be charged with. However, this video does not exonerate his client.”
Harris confirmed to Law&Crime that a criminal investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Neither Guinn nor the Texas Attorney General’s office responded to Law&Crime’s request for comment in time for publication.
‘She Acted As Though She Knew What the Plan Was All Along’
In an affidavit filed Wednesday, Jennifer Read says that Carruth and Chad’s ex-wife, Christina Read, had planned on injuring Chad.
Jennifer accuses Christina of doing nothing to prevent Kyle from shooting Chad, and did not try to help after he was shot.
“During the assault and murder, Christina Read was calm and didn’t act surprised,” Jennifer’s affidavit says. “She acted as though she knew what the plan was all along. She took no steps to stop Kyle Carruth from assaulting Chad and took no steps to stop Kyle Carruth from murdering Chad. Following the assault and murder, Christina Read continued to remain calm, she didn’t react, and she continued to record Chad as he laid there dying. Christina did not take any steps to render aid to Chad.”
Jennifer is seeking custody of the children shared by Chad and Christina.
Jennifer says in her affidavit that the oldest child has told her that “he blames his mother for the shooting, and that he will run away from home if he sees Kyle there again.”
Jennifer also says that one of Chad’s children will tell the family court judge that he wants to live with Jennifer.
A portion of the video released by the attorney to Law&Crime is below. We truncated the video immediately before it shows the dying man’s body.
Read Jennifer Read’s affidavit below. Law&Crime has redacted the names of the minor children involved in the custody dispute.
[Image via screengrab of video provided by Matthew L. Harris]
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