A well-known Tampa dentist accused of bigamy and attempted murder said he was contemplating suicide in early May when his gun went off during a scuffle, wounding his wife, according to documents filed Tuesday in Hillsborough court.
During a lengthy hearing on whether to release Charles A. Myers, 49, from jail before his trial, the doctor invoked the Fifth Amendment when prosecutors asked whether he shot Evelyne Davis-Myers three times and then fled to a Pinellas motel room under an assumed name.
But an affidavit filed by Myers' attorney later in the hearing offered a startling new account of what happened on the morning of May 11 in Myers' white BMW.
Myers "told Ms. Davis-Myers that he intended to commit suicide, at which time he displayed the gun with which he intended to kill himself; Ms. Davis-Myers reached for the gun, there was a scuffle, and the gun accidentally discharged, and at least one bullet from the gun struck her," according to the document.
The affidavit also said Myers had gone to the elementary school where his wife works to talk about a civil suit Davis-Myers had filed against him, alleging that he is a bigamist.
Myers "was seriously depressed as a result of Ms. Davis-Myers' refusal to return his clothing, amicably end their relationship, and because of false charges made in the proceedings filed in her behalf," according to the affidavit.
But Assistant Hillsborough State Attorney Julia Best Chase said it was no accident that Evelyne Davis-Myers was shot three times and left paralyzed by the side of the road.
Dr. Myers persuaded her to get in his car, then beat her before shooting her three times in the knee, back and foot as she struggled to escape the moving BMW, according to authorities.
"You're going to die today, bitch," Davis-Myers quoted her husband as saying. Davis-Myers said in a sworn statement that she believes her husband intended to kill her because he was not remorseful even after the first shot.
Violence is typical behavior for Myers, who led an "abominable" private life, Chase said.
"Many people spoke to the good side of Charles Myers, but they didn't know the dark side, which is his personal life," Chase said.
Myers, dressed in blue prisoner's garb, sat handcuffed at the defense table as his attorney Arnold Levine called 15 character witnesses, all of whom said Myers would not flee Tampa before his trial date.
Although many of the people, including state Rep. Les Miller, D-Tampa, and Bobby Bowden, Tampa's community affairs director, said they knew Myers to be truthful, many said they were not aware that he might be married to two women simultaneously.
"There had always been rumors, but he never showed me a marriage license," said Alfredo Moragne, an assistant principal at Coleman Middle School.
In her sworn statement, Evelyne Davis-Myers said her husband-to-be spent the night of March 4 with his second wife, Jacqueline Myles Myers.
"This is the thing. He married me March 5 and slept with and got out of bed with Jackie (on) March the 5th, that morning, and married me at 3 o'clock that evening " Davis-Myers said.
But within days, she said, Myers began leaving for long periods of time and soon she began hearing rumors that he was still married to another woman. That's when she decided to contact her own attorney.
At one point, Jacqueline Myles Myers called her to say that she and Dr. Myers were not married, Davis-Myers said.
"This man's got all these women worked around his finger," Davis-Myers said in her sworn statement.
Moragne, Myers' childhood friend, said Myers told him "about Sharon Wells Jones, a woman Myers was dating, but Moragne said he was not aware until Jones testified Tuesday that Myers had proposed marriage to her.
Jones, who had a volatile relationship with Myers between 1989 and early 1992, left little doubt about her feelings for the doctor.
"He bought me this diamond ring and made his intentions known to my parents. This man, I loved him. We had a very intense relationship off and on," Jones said.
Jones said Myers tried to run her and a date off the road in April 1992, and then later the same evening Myers rammed her car twice with his Jeep.
She filed criminal mischief charges, and Myers was placed in pre-trial intervention, a program similar to probation that saves the defendant from having a conviction record.
Jones also said that Myers had threatened her in December 1991 after he found out she was with her ex-husband. "If you sleep with him, I'll beat your ass," she testified that he told her.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Barbara Fleischer said she would rule Thursday morning on the motion to release Myers on bail or his own recognizance.