The wife of the chief ranger for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism arrested in his fatal shooting Sunday was told by investigators they believed she acted in self-defense, an attorney said at a court hearing Monday.
Jerry Digman was found shot to death shortly before noon at his home at 23919 Arkansas 300 in Roland, the Pulaski County sheriff's office said in a statement.
His wife, 55-year-old Pamela Digman, was arrested about 9:45 p.m. on a charge of first-degree murder.
According to an arrest report, Pamela Digman was at the home when authorities first responded to the shooting and told investigators "she had just shot her husband."
In later questioning with investigators, Pamela Digman said "she shot her husband multiple times inside their home after an altercation," the report states.
Pamela Digman was booked into the Pulaski County jail late Sunday night and made an initial court appearance by video Monday morning before Pulaski County District Judge Wayne Gruber.
Digman didn't speak to the judge during the brief hearing, but a public defender representing her for the proceeding asked for a "reasonable bond" in part because of the nature of the shooting.
"Initially upon contact with the defendant, investigators told her they believed it to be self-defense," public defender Betsy Johnston said. "They in fact made a statement to the news to that effect, told her she would be released later yesterday evening, told her sons she would be released later that evening. They believed it was self-defense. There's nothing in that articulation of facts that suggests why they changed their mind. And I don't know why they then charged her with that."
A booking photo from the Pulaski County jail showed some red marks on Pamela Digman's neck, but it wasn't clear whether they were related at all to the shooting or the altercation that preceded it.
After weighing Digman's criminal history — a 2004 forgery conviction — and considering the nature of a "very, very serious" charge, Gruber set the bail at $300,000.
Jerry Digman had been chief ranger since July or August after retiring from the Arkansas State Police, officials told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday.