Woman Claims “self-defense”
The murder trial has begun for Diane Arellano, the 55-year-old Forrest Township woman accused of murdering her husband and concealing the act from the police. He was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the head
The murder occurred last year on March 1st. Michael Arellano was discovered by his stepson at about 8:30 pm, lying face-down on the basement floor of his home on Kristen Road. An unloaded rifle was found lying near his body.
Shortly after the shooting, Arellano’s vehicle was captured on the surveillance video of a local grocery store, heading down an access road that lead to the woods. A handgun registered to Arellano was found hidden in the woods, along with a hat and a bottle of bleach.
According to testimony given by Arellano’s son, he drove his mother to a store in Burton where she disposed of a pair of her jeans. He stated that she had told him that she had urinated and defecated on them and had to throw them away. The pants were found by officers in a dumpster a few days later. They were blood-stained.
Officials have said that it is possible that an extra-marital affair might be the reason for the murder. A man whose number was found in Arellano’s cell phone has admitted that he was having an affair with her, and that she had talked about leaving her husband, but had expressed concern about the financial impact of a divorce.
Arellano was arrested on March 4, 2013. According to State Police Sgt. Mark Pendergraff, he interviewed Arellano on eight separate occasions after the shooting and in each interview her story of what may have happened to her husband was different.
Pendergraff said that at first Arellano wanted to know if her husband had a heart attack or if he shot himself, and then later she suggested that his dealings on Craigslist may have resulted in an attack. However, Arellano finally admitted that she shot her husband, but that it was an act of self-defense.
Apparently, Arellano’s husband had asked her to fetch him a pillow and when she brought the wrong one, had been sent back upstairs for another. At that point Arellano came back to the basement with a different pillow and a handgun. Her husband then pointed a rifle at her and, in turn, she shot him twice. After that, she fled the house in her husband’s SUV.
Arellano is charged with open murder, felony firearm and domestic violence. Open murder means that the prosecutor has not chosen between the sentences of first degree or second degree murder, but will allow the jury to decide which is the most appropriate. A felony firearm charge simply means that a person used a firearm while committing or attempting to commit a felony. This is a felony charge and, for a first time offense, is punishable by a mandatory sentence of two years in prison. A domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor and can result in fines of up to $500 and up to 93 days in jail.
Arellano’s attorney, Kenneth Karasick, has said that Arellano was abused by her husband and that he had a drinking problem. However, toxicology reports show that he had no alcohol in his system at the time of death.
The attorneys began selecting the jury on Tuesday, May 20th, in the Genesee Circuit Court before Judge Judith A. Fullerton. Arellano is being held at the Genesee County Jail without bail.