A LaFayette man who says he accidentally shot and killed his wife tried to clean up the scene before revealing the deed to a neighbor at least a day later, Walker County sheriff Steve Wilson said.

Steven Marcus Denson, 41, of 1967 Kemp Road, was taken into custody Sunday afternoon, Nov. 22, after 3 p.m. He was charged with homicide for the death of his 38-year-old wife, Christina Michelle Denson.

But police say he had fatally shot his wife more than a day earlier.

According to preliminary reports, Denson moved his wife’s body from the living room to the bed. But, Wilson said, evidence shows he shot her in the bedroom and didn’t move the body.

The couple were arguing before the shooting. But there’s no evidence, at this time, that a physical altercation occurred — and not enough will be known until after the autopsy is complete, Wilson said.

“He obviously had a day or two days to clean up,” Wilson said. “So as far as there being signs of a struggle or anything in the room, there was not any.”

Denson confided to neighbor

Wilson said Denson, after the shooting and attempting to clean up the scene, went to a neighbor’s house on Sunday, Nov. 22, and invited him over to see if he wanted to buy his vehicle and if he could repair his chainsaw.

At Denson’s house in the living room, Denson revealed to the neighbor he shot his wife and showed the man her body in the bedroom, Wilson said.

Wilson believes Denson confided to his friend because his conscience was bothering him and he needed to talk to someone about it.

The neighbor left and told another friend, who tipped off police.

Deputies went to the couple’s residence about noon. When they knocked on the door, no one was home. Detectives obtained a warrant about 3 p.m. to enter the house.

“His reasoning (for the shooting) was that it was accidental,” Wilson said. “That’s what his statement is, that it was an accidental shooting. But we don’t believe that evidence will support that. We believe otherwise and that it was not accidental.”

His wife appeared to have been shot once, in the jaw and neck area, with a .22-caliber handgun. Autopsy findings are pending.

Deputies caught up to Denson at his neighbor’s house and discovered he was under the influence of alcohol. They don’t know if he was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, Wilson said.

He was taken into custody, questioned and later charged with murder. He gave a statement to detectives “acknowledging responsibility” for his wife’s death, but claimed it was an accident.

Authorities don’t know what specifically led Denson to shoot his wife, the sheriff said.

In the past week she had asked for a leave of absence from her job at United Synthetics in LaFayette. Investigators don’t know why she asked for the leave, nor if it is connected to the shooting, Wilson said.

The couple had been together for a year, living in the residence during that time. Family members of the victim say the couple had been married for a year, Wilson said.

In 2005 Denson was convicted for manufacturing methamphetamine and in 2007 he was arrested for misdemeanor battery, Wilson said.

As a convicted felon, he was not allowed to legally possess a firearm, he said. Besides murder, Denson is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Wilson said deputies had never been called to the residence prior to the shooting. “We had never responded to any calls there previously, no,” Wilson said.

Josh O'Bryant is a reporter for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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