Trial begins for man who says he was 'sleepwalking' when he killed his wife

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - A murder trial is underway for a man who admits he shot and killed his wife nearly six years ago, but says he's not fully to blame because he was asleep. 

Sleepwalker defense 

Raymond Lazirene told police he thought he was dreaming when he shot his wife of 35 years six times but in reality, it was all real. Now, Lazirene's attorneys are arguing before a jury that what he did was involuntary. 

What happened

In the afternoon of Dec. 18, 2013, Lazirene called his son at work, urging him to leave and come to his home, telling him he's dreamed that he'd killed his wife, according to his defense team.

When Nathan Lazirene arrived at the home, he testified he found his mother, Deborah, dead on the living room floor. Officials said she was shot half-dozen times, including twice in the head and once in the back. Raymond Lazirene told his son and police he felt like he was in a dream, officials said. 

His attorneys contend that because of his medical condition, he was unable to tell the difference. 

"Our position over here is this was a dream and it wasn't voluntary. 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," said defense attorney, Feroz F. Merchant.  

Retired Houston homicide detective Fil Waters was one of the investigators at the scene of the crime. 

"He mentioned something there that was more of an off the wall comment about, 'This is like a dream. I wish I could wake up from.'" Something along those lines," Waters said. 

Raymond Lazirene ran and owned a successful electrical contracting business. He and his wife had been married for 35 years and in that time, he had no serious brushes with the law. 

His son testified Raymond Lazirene had been under a psychiatrist's care for more than a decade. He said his father had been prescribed psychotropic drugs, which his son said he sometimes mixed with alcohol. 

Raymond Lazarine told police he was talking his prescription drugs the day of the shooting. 

What's next? 

The trial resumes Tuesday. Raymond Lazirene could face up to life in prison is he's convicted.

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