Thursday, April 16, 2009 By CHERIE WARDStaff Reporter
PASCAGOULA — A rural woman shocked deputies when they found her alert and coherent after being shot in the head at close range by her husband.
She even made a cup of tea, according to one of the deputies.
"There's no way she should be alive," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said. "The bullet completely passed straight through her brain. It entered at the middle of her forehead and exited from the back of her head. She should be dead. It's one of the most unreal, bizarre things I've ever seen."
Byrd said that Donald Ray Sexton shot his wife Tammy in the forehead at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday, then went to the back porch of their home on Billy Hinton Road in the Harleston community in north Jackson County and fatally shot himself.
Deputies believe that the couple had been arguing.
Tammy Sexton, 47, was airlifted to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile. A hospital representative said Wednesday afternoon that Sexton was listed in fair condition in the intensive care unit.
Lee Kesterson, a neurosurgeon with the Singing River Health System, said that a gunshot victim's alertness after a head wound signals their ability to survive it.
"If a person is in a comatose state, chances of survival are poor," he said.
Byrd said a young relative was in the home when the shootings occurred and ran to a neighbor for help.
"When deputies got there, they thought they were responding to a murder-suicide," Byrd said. "But, she was up walking around and talking."
Sheriff's Sgt. Leon Rushing said Tammy Sexton told detectives she had "just made some tea and was fine."
Rushing said she appeared slightly disoriented but was alert and responsive to questions.
"She had a cup of tea on her nightstand," Rushing said. "That was evidence that she had gone to the microwave and made tea. I'm sure she made it after she was shot."
Police recovered a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun, which they believe was the pistol that 57-year-old Donald Sexton used in the shootings, Byrd said.
Rushing said hospital officials told him Wednesday that doctors were predicting that Tammy Sexton would make a full recovery.
"I've seen many, many head wounds over the years, and people just don't survive getting shot in the head," Byrd said. "She's an absolute miracle."
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Tags: head shot, domestic violence, Pascagoula, cup of tea
Location: Pascagoula, Mississippi, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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