She shot him through the bedroom door after they heard a noise and grabbed guns, Pasco deputies say.
By MATTHEW WAITE and BRADY DENNIS
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 4, 2001
ZEPHYRHILLS -- A woman who says she mistook her husband for an intruder shot him to death through a closed door in their rural mobile home early Sunday.
Felicia Genter, 28, told Pasco County deputies that a noise awakened her and her 35-year-old husband, John, about 4 a.m.
He got up and pulled out two handguns, one for her and one for him. He told her to lock the bedroom door and stay put while he investigated outside the couple's brown mobile home at 7411 Handcart Road in east Pasco.
She waited a few minutes, then heard the outside door open again.
Under the bedroom door, she saw a shadow.
Felicia Genter called out her husband's name twice but got no response, she told deputies.
So she fired six shots from the 9mm handgun through the closed bedroom door.
On the other side of the door was her husband. One of the bullets struck him in the chest, killing him.
"You just can hardly believe it," said Kenneth Martin, Felicia Genter's father, who was watching over the home Sunday. "You always think something like this happens to somebody else."
It was a tragic ending to a night the couple had spent celebrating their son Logan's third birthday, which was Saturday.
Martin said the couple had left their 18-month-old son, Ethan, with John Genter's parents and taken the 3-year-old to a ballgame.
Ethan was at his grandparents when the shooting happened. Logan was in the house, though Martin wasn't sure where.
Martin remembered Genter, a maintenance worker, as a man who loved motorcycle racing, fishing and scuba diving.
He said the couple had been married about five years and had lived on Handcart Road for about four years.
"They seemed pretty happy to me. She's pretty devastated," Martin said. "When you're isolated like this, you tend to operate on fear a lot."
Felicia Genter was staying with John Genter's parents Sunday afternoon, her father said. She could not be reached for comment.
In the back of the house on Handcart Road, three bullet holes showed in the white back door. Two windows in the door also had been shattered by bullets. Martin said the bullets pierced three doors in all -- the locked bedroom door, a hallway door and the back door.
In the back yard sat a plastic sandbox and a purple swing set. Nearby was a red and blue wooden fishing boat and an old Yamaha motorcycle with 4,384 miles on the odometer.
In the driveway was the couple's white Toyota Celica, with a sticker in the rear window that states: "University of Smith & Wesson."
The mobile home sits several miles down a bumpy dirt road off Eiland Boulevard. It is surrounded by barbed wire fencing and miles of pastures, where a half-dozen horses grazed lazily Sunday.
There are only a few neighbors. In a mobile home about 200 yards away, Kim Horton and her son, Jason, said the couple was always quiet but friendly.
"I used to always see him riding his lawn mower with his kid riding up front," said Jason Horton, who was awakened about 5 a.m. Sunday by patrol car lights and deputies with flashlights.
"It's quiet out here. You don't ever see anybody," Kim Horton said. "We've never had any problems out here before. They just seemed like good and quiet people."
Neither Felicia nor John Genter have criminal records in Pasco County, according to court documents.
Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said that no charges had been filed in the shooting death, based on Felicia Genter's story. He wouldn't comment on any other details.
"At this point, it's still under investigation," he said.