CHEYENNE – A 33-year-old Cheyenne teacher has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of her fiancé early Saturday morning.
Danelle Moyte was arrested by Laramie County Sheriff’s deputies and held at the Laramie County Detention Center on a charge of second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Christopher Garcia, 39, at around 2 a.m. at the home they shared in the 2400 block of South Fourth Avenue.
But according to information filed Monday in Laramie County Circuit Court, Moyte was charged with a single count of first-degree murder by the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office. First-degree murder accuses the defendant of killing another human being “with premeditated malice.”
Moyte had her initial appearance Monday morning and is being held at the Laramie County jail without bond. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 28 at Laramie County Circuit Court.
According to a news release, Garcia died from a single 9mm gunshot wound after being taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
Moyte was a Title 1 teacher at Afflerbach Elementary School in Cheyenne, according to a news release from Laramie County School District 1. District officials learned about the shooting at 9 a.m. Saturday, according to the release.
The district has suspended Motye with pay and is waiting for the investigation to be completed before deciding on further actions. They added social workers are available for students and staff that need emotional support during this time.
The district directed any further questions on the shooting to the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department. The case remains under investigation.
According to court documents:
Deputies responded to the residence when several juvenile callers, Garcia’s daughter and Moyte’s son, called 911 to report that he had been shot by Moyte.
When officers arrived, Moyte was standing outside the house with her son, and she was crying when she told officers she shot Garcia. She told officers the gun she used to shoot Garcia was in the center console of her black 2003 Chevy Tahoe.
Officers quickly secured the 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Deputies also noticed there was a white 2001 Ford F-150 parked and still running in the residence’s driveway. The truck was registered to Garcia.
When officers entered the residence, they found Garcia lying on the floor of the upstairs master bedroom, and he was unresponsive. Officers tried to provide medical care to Garcia, but after he was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, he was pronounced dead.
Garcia was shot on the right side of his chest, and the bullet exited his body from his lower back.
Garcia and Moyte were engaged and had children living with them from other marriages at the residence. Three children under the age of 13 were home when the shooting occurred.
When officers interviewed Moyte, she said “everyone was drinking” and “we never fight.” Moyte told officers she had no injuries, and her clothing showed no signs of a struggle.
Officers noted both Moyte and Garcia’s bodies smelled strongly of alcohol.
Officers also noted due to the bullet holes and position Garcia was found in, it appeared that he was taking off his sweatshirt when he was shot. Officers also found a bullet hole in the bedroom door.
Before the shooting, Garcia and Moyte had gotten into a fight. Moyte had left the residence to spend time with a friend during the fight and went back home when Garcia wasn’t there.
She then tried to lock Garcia out of the house, but when he returned, he entered the home through the unlocked back door. When he was home, Moyte told him to leave, but he wouldn’t.
Moyte told officers she didn’t know what to do so she “shot the (expletive) gun,” and she “told him three (expletive) times” to leave. She said Garcia was laughing at her when she was taking the gun out of the safe.
She said she thought Garcia would “beat the shit” out of her, and she shot him in self defense. However, officers noted that Moyte’s earlier statements that the couple never fought and the lack of a struggle/injuries to Moyte contradict the claim that the shooting was in self-defense.