All of Hampton Roads, NE North Carolina under heat advisory until 8 p.m.

Court documents shed light on Elizabeth City man’s decision to murder wife

ELIZABETH CITY, NC - Court documents are offering new insight into why a 73-year-old man shot and killed his wife in December.

Police arrived to a home in the 100 block of Golfclub Drive the morning of December 14 to find Samuel Frank Mansfield walking down the driveway with his hands in the air after revealing to dispatchers he'd shot and killed his wife, Phyllis.

Neighbors tell News 3 Phyllis may have been suffering from dementia.

According to the documents Mansfield told police he was in the process of finding an assisted living home for his wife and one morning realized she would be 'living like a caged animal' and that he 'knew what he had to do'.

The documents go on to say Mansfield grabbed a gun, called Phyllis into the garage and shot her. He then stayed with her until she took her last breath before calling 911.

Mansfield was charged with first-degree murder, but last week was released from jail when a grand jury failed to indict him.

"For him to get out so soon, it really surprised me," said neighbor Calvin Gregory, who says he hasn't seen Mansfield since the murder. "They were always a pleasant couple. They were always showing love to each other so it was really surprising to find out all this took place."

District Attorney Andrew Womble says a person can't be put on trial for a felony unless indicted by a grand jury or there's a bill of information, which he says doesn't apply to the Mansfield case. He doesn't know if a separate indictment will be filed.

RELATED: 

N.C. District Attorney: Man arrested for wife’s death released, not indicted for murder

73-year-old Elizabeth City woman found dead in home; Husband arrested