A Martinsville man is going to prison for 7 years after admitting he killed his wife and then reporting she had committed suicide.
David Dillon Ives, 27, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Amber Stultz Ives, 25, three days after he reported her dead of a gunshot wound on Aug. 12, 2019, in their home at 735 Oneida St.
But he pleaded guilty to amended charges of voluntary manslaughter and last week was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum the amended charge allowed, with 3 of those years suspended.
The case began when David Ives called 911 on Aug. 12 and reported that Amber Ives had committed suicide at their home, a criminal complaint and search warrants on file with the Martinsville Circuit Court Clerk’s Office state.
MPD Officer Seth Reynolds arrived at their residence at 4:10 p.m. and found Amber Ives lying on the bed and bleeding heavily from the left side of her head. In her left hand was a Taurus 9mm handgun. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
In an autopsy report, Medical Examiner Samantha Robertson expressed concerns that the fatal gunshot wound to Amber Ives was not self-inflicted.
MPD Sgt. Harley Durham obtained a search warrant and returned to the home the following day, where he found evidence of bullet holes in the wall behind the bed where Amber Ives had died.
The day after the search, David Ives went to the police station and admitted that he had shot his wife during an argument and that she had not committed suicide.
“The accused states that he was arguing with his wife about his ex-girlfriend,” the criminal complain stated. “At some point the victim tried to leave with her handgun. The accused tried to stop her from leaving the home and grabbed the gun from her. The accused then stated that the gun was in his possession solely, and it began to fire.
“The accused stated that his wife eventually was on the bed, and she put her right hand up in a defensive move. The accused then fired the weapon, hitting his wife in the left temple. The accused then placed the gun in her left hand and reported a suicide.”
The document said that the medical examiner’s report states that Amber Ives was shot from a significant distance and that her right hand, which also was injured, was up in a defensive manner.
Martinsville Commonwealth Attorney Andrew Hall said that, despite the medical examiner’s report and David Ives’ admission, a case could be made that the gun went off while the two were trying to take possession of the gun at the same time.
A 2-day jury trial had been scheduled for April in Martinsville Circuit Court, but on March 9 Michael Nicholas, Ives’ attorney, struck a deal with Hall and charges of maliciously shooting into an occupied building and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony-first offense were dropped in exchange for David Ives’ guilty plea to an amended charge of voluntary manslaughter.