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A veteran deputy in Harris County, Texas, known as the bailiff on the TV court show “Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez” was acquitted Wednesday of murdering his wife.
Patricia Spivey was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the chest, on July 28, 2019, killing her at the age of 52. There was never any dispute that her then-deputy husband Renard Spivey, now 67, was the one who called 911 and told Houston cops he accidentally shot his wife after the couple argued all day and eventually “tussled” over a gun.
According to the complaint filed the day after the shooting, Patricia Spivey was found dead in a “master bedroom closet” where three shell casings were visible and a pistol was left on “top of a clothes hamper.”
Renard Spivey, who was shot in his left leg, dialed 911 around 3:12 a.m. on July 28, 2019, and called for an ambulance.
“He advised that he and his wife had an argument. The Defendant advised that he and his wife were tussling with the gun and that he accidentally shot her,” the complaint said. “He further advised that he was also shot in the leg and this his wife shot him.”
In Renard Spivey’s words, the couple “was arguing and tussling with a gun; we had been arguing all day.”
Cops interviewed his brother-in-law Ezra Washington and found Washington’s statements about a possible motive behind the shooting to be “credible.”
Patricia Spivey’s brother, according to police, said his sister and Renard Spivey were arguing about their relationship prior to the shooting. She had “suspicions that the Defendant was possibly back on steroids and/or having an affair, because of a lack of intimacy in their relationship,” the complaint said.
Washington said he talked with his brother-in-law three times on the night before the shooting and that Renard complained about Patricia calling him the “Incredible Hulk” and about her “counting my pills (low testosterone medication), claiming that I’m sleeping with someone else.”
“Ezra Washington advised that the Defendant told him that one time the Complainant [victim] had referred to the Defendant as the incredible hulk, and that at some point she’s going to make him rise up like the Incredible Hulk and ‘it ain’t gonna be good,”” the complaint said. “Ezra Washington advised that he took that statement to mean that the Defendant would something harmful to [his sister].”
The brother-in-law also said he told Renard to leave if the marriage was falling apart.
Cops concluded that it was unlikely that victim was shot accidentally, given that Patricia Spivey was shot twice and weighed at least 110 pounds less than her apparent “avid body builder/weight lifter” husband.
“Affiant noted that the evidence indicated that three shots were fired in the closet, and the Complainant was shot twice, which is inconsistent with the Defendant’s statement that he ‘accidentally’ shot the Complainant and that the firearm ‘accidentally’ discharging [sic] during a struggle between the [couple],” the complaint said.
After Renard Spivey’s arrest, one clip from his time as a bailiff on “Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez” (formerly “Christina’s Court”) caught the internet’s attention.
An arguing couple appeared on the reality TV court show.
After the man appearing before Judge Perez complained about “constantly” being yelled at him at home, the woman on the other side of the argument responded by saying “people in love, they yell at each other all the time.” The judge remarked “that’s true,” just ask Renard Spivey.
“Ask him. He’s been married for how long?” Perez asked.
“Over 27 years,” Spivey said.
“Look at him though, he look mad,” the man said, leading Spivey to raise his eyebrows and the audience to chuckle. “You don’t look happy, brother. You don’t look happy.”
Then the bailiff flashed a wide smile.
Though an indictment of Renard Spivey followed in November 2020, the trial in the case didn’t begin until November 2023. And with the counsel of Dick DeGuerin, the defense lawyer who famously won Robert Durst a murder acquittal in Texas, Spivey has since been acquitted of murder.
“I don’t believe either Mr. or Mrs. Spivey intended to let that gun fire. I think each discharge was accidental,” DeGuerin said, according to local ABC affiliate KTRK.
The defense attorney reportedly believed that having two lawyers on the jury evaluating the evidence may have been a factor behind the acquittal.
Patricia Spivey’s obituary, which did not mention her longtime husband, said that she lived a “robust life” and “will be cherished by all those who called her friend, family or the lady always smiling with the camera.”