By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - A 76-year-old Texas man was charged with murder for shooting his wife and two dogs after one of the animals pooped in the house.
Police arrested Michael Stephen Stolz after a five-hour standoff at the man's home in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville late Tuesday. He was charged with murder in the shooting death of his wife, Bernice Stolz, and remained in the Denton County Jail on Wednesday on a $250,000 bond.
Stolz told officers he shot his 49-year-old wife and the couple's two dogs after the German Shepherd mix defecated on the floor on Saturday, said Lewisville Police Capt. Kevin Deaver. He told officers that he shot the dog, then their other dog, a Rottweiler, then his wife, who was screaming because of the shootings of the dogs, Deaver said.
Police were called to investigate after Bernice Stolz' employer reported that she failed to show up at work for several days. Stolz rebuffed officers who asked to enter the house and check on the woman's welfare, Deaver said.
Officers reported smelling an odor of decomposition from the home and called for SWAT officers to help encourage Stolz to surrender. SWAT officers finally sent a robot with a camera inside for a look, Deaver said. They noticed Stolz was unarmed and lying on the floor.
Stolz finally surrendered peacefully. Bernice Stolz's body was found on the kitchen floor with a gunshot wound to the head. Stolz told officers he had also intended to kill himself but ran out of bullets after shooting his wife and dogs, Deaver said.
"Sometimes it's just a trivial little thing that sets people off," Deaver said.
Police had previously responded to calls for medical assistance at the home but Stolz had no history of mental illness, Deaver said.
(Editing By Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)