McKinney woman found dead, husband charged with murder

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by JOBIN PANICKER & STEVE STOLER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 7 at 6:14 PM

McKinney crime scene

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McKINNEY — McKinney police have now charged a man with the death of his wife.

Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Barker said 44-year-old Mary Beth Merz was found dead and her husband Eric was injured when officers arrived at their home in the 300 block of Pintail Drive Wednesday afternoon.

"The first responders could see her lying inside on the floor," Barker said. "She was unresponsive and could not get up to come to the door. So we forced entry into the house to make sure she's okay."

Mrs. Merz, however, was dead. On Thursday, police revealed that their daughter returned home and could get the door to budge. Barker said the child went to a nearby window and spotted Mary Merz unconscious on the ground and ran to a neighbor's house to call police. 

Barker said Mrs. Merz suffered gunshot wounds. 

Responders found Eric Merz, 42, wounded inside the study of the 3,600 square foot residence in the Mallard Lakes subdivision. He was taken to Baylor Medical Center at McKinney for treatment and later arrested and transferred to the Collin County Detention Center, where he was charged with murder.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said she saw Eric Merz walking out into his backyard just after 3 p.m.

"He came out into the backyard and he was standing over the fire pit, and I heard a 'pop' and then another 'pop,'" said the neighbor.

Neighbor Yvette Deblois said her 12-year-old daughter was in the nurse's office earlier that day with the Merz' daughter, who fell off her skateboard and hurt herself. 

"They called the mom; the mom didn't answer the phone. Then, they called the dad; the dad answered the phone. But he said they were busy and he couldn't come to pick her up, just to bandage her up." Deblois said. "It's just shocking, because I know both of them, and it doesn't seem like it could happen."

Court documents show that Eric Merz was charged with assault in December of 2001 in San Antonio for pulling on his wife and kicking her. The charge was reduced in a plea bargain and later dropped after Merz paid fines. 

The couple has two children. Investigators were observed removing evidence from the home on Wednesday. They also focused attention on a fire pit in the  backyard.

Tax records indicate that the Merzes had owned the property on Pintail Drive since 2006. Eric Merz is jailed on $150,000 bond.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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