Minden, Nev. — A Lake Tahoe woman was convicted Thursday night of second degree murder in the Feb. 23, 2014, shooting death of her husband.
Tatiana Leibel, 50, was found guilty by a Minden jury, who deliberated for more than seven hours in the case. The jury reported reaching a verdict just after 9 p.m. Thursday. The trial began Jan. 27.
Leibel faces an April 20 sentencing date in the murder of her 64-year-old husband, Harry. She is being held without bail.
“One thing we saw with this jury was that they were very astute,” prosecutor Tom Gregory said Thursday night after the verdict was rendered. “They got in there and they looked at the evidence, asked questions and deliberated. They did everything a jury is supposed to do, and I appreciate it.”
Defense attorney Kris Brown put on an aggressive defense, calling a crime scene expert and a world-renowned pathologist to testify for Leibel.
Second chair attorney Jamie Henry said this was her first murder trial, and that she learned a great deal from Brown.
“This was a tough case,” Gregory said. “The defense did a great job. This is how trials are supposed to be.”
Leibel, who is a Russian national and had the proceedings translated, did not take the stand.
The jury sat through the testimony of three score witnesses over the last two weeks.
During opening arguments, Gregory said that he would prove that not only did Leibel shoot her husband, but that she waited an hour to call for help after the shooting had occurred.
Brown sought to offer evidence that Leibel could have shot himself, even demonstrating that she could pull the trigger of the gun while pressing the barrel into her side.
However, during the testimony of pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, it was more difficult for Brown to recreate the second wound to the hand.
That second wound, which came from the shotgun portion of the combination weapon, was the thing that prompted investigators to believe they were working a homicide the day they responded to the couple’s Round Hill home.
Gregory told jurors that not only was there a second wound, but that the weapon was cocked to fire a third shot.
Leibel told investigators that she and her husband had been arguing about her leaving for Southern California to visit her daughter in the days before the shooting. Leibel didn’t want her to go, Brown said.