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Shooting ends violent relationship

Richard Roy slapped his wife and forced her to have sex with him, according to court testimony. Then he made a chilling comment: "The only way out of this marriage is in a body bag."

That was three months ago. On Tuesday, Betty Roy died in her house, killed by a shotgun blast to her head.

Her final divorce hearing was scheduled for later this month.

Richard Roy was in serious condition Wednesday at Bayfront Medical Center. He suffered from what police said were self-inflicted stab and shotgun wounds.

Police said the shooting apparently was a murder and attempted suicide at Betty Roy's house, 1481 Carolyn Lane, in an unincorporated section of Clearwater. No charges had been filed by late Wednesday afternoon.

Betty Roy, 42, had wanted her husband to stay away from her, and she went to the courts for help. She obtained a court order barring him from coming back to her house before April 1992.

But Richard Roy came back. Police found him at the house Tuesday night, and medics treated him on the blood-stained front patio.

A court injunction like the one Betty Roy received can be helpful in many cases, and sometimes can prevent additional violence, said Pat Gerard, director of the Spouse Abuse Shelter of Religious Community Services.

But it is no guarantee, she said.

"Obviously, it's a piece of paper and if somebody's determined to hurt you it's not going to be worth anything," she said.

In many cases, a violent relationship between a man and a woman remains violent even after one party decides to leave, Gerard said. "In the last six months we've seen several examples of this exact kind of thing happening," she said.

The Roys had been married for a year in January. On March 8, Richard Roy, 53, became angry when his wife did not feel like having sex, according to her testimony in a criminal case filed against him.

"He said he had every right to touch me whenever he wanted to," Betty Roy said in the deposition. After that, she said, he forced himself on her.

Then he showed her a gun, pointed it at her, and asked her if she knew what it was for. She said yes.

"And then he made this statement to me, that if my daughter and I did not conform to his ways and do what he wanted us to do, we'd both find ourselves dead," she said in the deposition.

Betty Roy had two children from a previous marriage, a 21-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.

Richard Roy later was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, and was found carrying a .357-Magnum revolver. He told deputies he always carried it with him. He had a permit to carry a concealed firearm, police said.

Two days after the incident, Betty Roy filed for divorce. She said in her court filings that the marriage was irretrievably broken.

Richard Roy disagreed. He asked the court to compel the two of them to seek marriage counseling, and said in court filings "that an effort should be made to save the marriage."