Records: Butte Woman Told Dispatchers She Shot Boyfriend

By Beacon Staff

BUTTE – Court records say a 46-year-old Butte woman charged in the shooting death of her boyfriend told investigators she was “tired of being abused.”

Charging documents released this week say Verna Elaine Bell told police she wasn’t being physically abused the morning 41-year-old Richard G. Hoffmann III was fatally shot.

Bell is charged with deliberate homicide and is expected to be arraigned on Aug. 27 before District Judge Brad Newman.

Court records say Hoffmann was shot twice on July 27, once in the lower back along with a grazing shot to the back of the head.

Prosecutors say Bell called 911 and told the dispatcher she shot her boyfriend. Hoffmann told responding officers that “Elaine” shot him. He died in the emergency room.

In 1992, Bell, then Verna Lemler, pleaded guilty to criminal endangerment for shooting her husband, Mark Lemler, in the chest outside a Butte bar. She was given a five-year deferred sentence.

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