Weatherford Democrat

December 16, 2013

Murder charge dropped in Springtown killing


Weatherford Democrat

By CHRISTIN COYNE

At the request of prosecutors following a polygraph test, a Parker County district judge Monday dismissed a murder charge against a woman who claimed she killed her boyfriend in self-defense. 

Roni Catherine Lisenbe, 33, shot and killed 38-year-old Richard Graves at their Springtown area home on March 8. 

She reportedly told investigators that Graves had assaulted her, physically prevented her from leaving the home and knocked a phone out of her hand, preventing her from calling for help. 

Lisenbe told a 911 dispatcher she fired a warning shot before shooting Graves. 

The two were fighting, “and I told him he needed to get out and he kept pushing me and throwing me to the ground and I kept telling him to leave me alone,” Lisenbe stated during the call.

“He was hitting me and pushing me and he got in my face and I got my gun out and I told him not to come at me and I fired a warning shot,” Lisenbe said. 

Lisenbe told investigators that Graves was reaching for the gun when she shot him. 

“Since there was no one at the home other than Lisenbe and Graves, we had only one version of what happened, and the circumstantial evidence didn’t clearly disprove or corroborate some of Lisenbe’s assertions,” Parker County District Attorney Don Schnebly said in a statement Monday. “However, after indictment, she consulted with her attorney and agreed to take a polygraph. The results of that polygraph examination indicated that she was being truthful about assertions that supported her self-defense claim.”

“It is our job as prosecutors to see that justice is done,” Schnebly said. “In this case, I believe that means not prosecuting this individual.” 

At the time of her arrest, Lisenbe’s work supervisor told the Democrat that Lisenbe had previously told coworkers that she afraid of Graves and that he had attacked and choked her days earlier. 

Graves had been in a relationship with Lisenbe for a couple of months and was staying in her home. Prior to the incident, Lisenbe told coworkers that she’d given Graves until April 1 to move out.  

“We’re more than pleased,” Lisenbe’s attorney, Navid Alband, said Monday. “I think Mr. Schnebly did the right thing in the situation.”

“From the get go, Roni had maintained that it was a case of self defense,” Alband said. “And when we did our investigation, in interviewing her, and then the independent crime scene analysis that we did and to the polygraph examination that we did, we just found consistencies from her story the entire way which never changed.” 

“It was difficult for her to go through this ... but to Mr. Schnebly’s credit, I think, when he reviewed all the facts, took the time to delve into it and do his own independent examination, we think he came to the right conclusion, obviously,” Alband said.

“Her mother is going through some surgery so that will give her all the freedom she needs to go down to Houston and visit her mother and for her mother to come up here, so it’s just a good early Christmas present for sure,” Alband said.