MODESTO, CA - Murder charges have been filed against a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy in the killing of a Modesto woman last fall.
County District Attorney Birgit Fladager said Kari Abbey was arrested Monday for second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of 31-year-old Rita Elias on Sept. 24.
Abbey is also facing charges of conspiracy, embezzlement from a government entity, cultivation of marijuana, receiving stolen property and child endangerment.
The preliminary investigation by the sheriff's department ruled the shooting as self defense. Abbey, who was off duty at the time, claimed she had been in fear for her life after an argument with Elias, who confronted her with a gun and threatened her, a sheriff's spokesman said.
Abbey has been with the sheriff's department six years. Her bail was set at $300,000. The D.A.'s office said Abbey's arraignment may be Monday.
"This is a tragedy for everyone involved," said Sheriff Adam Christianson said upon being informed of the arrest. "We offer our deepest condolences to the Elias family."