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On this, everyone agrees: husband shot his wife

He says the shooting was an accident. She says it wasn't. He's in jail. She's recovering at a hospital.

By JAMAL THALJI
Published September 8, 2006


HUDSON - Drunk, scared and out of breath, Robert Christie stormed the neighbors' patio Wednesday evening and blurted out:

"I shot Margo."

The neighbors, who later recounted the ordeal to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, ran across Reynolds Drive to Christie's house to check on his wife, Margo Christie. They found her clutching a towel to the gunshot wound on her right side, in pain, sitting upright on a sofa.

The husband said it was an accident. The neighbors asked the wife if it was.

"No, this was not an accident," Margo Christie told them.

Deputies swarmed the Beacon Woods East neighborhood and arrested 60-year-old Robert Christie on a charge of aggravated domestic battery.

The Sheriff's Office said Margo Christie, also 60, was upgraded Thursday from critical to serious condition at an undisclosed hospital.

"They say the next 10 days are critical," said neighbor Michael Daughtery, who heard the husband's declaration, called 911 and raced to the wife's aid.

Robert Christie could face more serious charges, said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll, depending on his wife's health and what prosecutors from the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office decide.

The retired couple had been married for about a decade, neighbors said, and moved there six years ago. Residents say theirs is a friendly neighborhood. The Christies didn't seem to have problems, neighbors said, and no one seemed to have problems with them.

But a relative, whom authorities would not identify, told the Sheriff's Office that Robert Christie, known as "Bobby" to his wife, has a problem with alcohol.

Sheriff's reports said the Christies bickered that night. The unidentified relative said that when he called the house, the couple were arguing over the husband's wanting a new dog. Later that day, the Sheriff's Office said, the couple argued in their bedroom as Margo Christie refused to give her husband the car keys.

It was 7:25 p.m. when Robert Christie pulled out the .380, the report said. The wife told deputies he took the safety off, pointed it at her, then squeezed the trigger.

"It was my fault," Robert Christie told the neighbors, according to a sheriff's report. "I didn't know there was a bullet in the chamber."

Robert Christie pulled out the handgun and placed it on the neighbors' patio table. Bobby Carnes hid it under a blanket in the lanai, then went with the husband back to the Christie house to check on the wounded wife.

When deputies arrived, they read Robert Christie his rights. "The defendant admitted to shooting his wife," the deputy's report said, "but (said) that it was an accident (and) that he had too much to drink."

Christie, of 8210 Reynolds Drive, was in the county jail late Thursday, held in lieu of $100,000 bail.