LANCASTER – A 64-year-old Lancaster man accused of shooting his wife three times during a Christmas Day argument over finances has pleaded not guilty.
Thomas Richard Silas is charged with one count of attempted murder. The complaint also contains allegations of domestic violence with great bodily injury and use of a handgun, according to Deputy District Attorney Paul Moll.
Silas appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to all charges, and a preliminary court hearing was set for Jan. 12. At the conclusion of that hearing, a judge will decide if there is enough evidence against Silas to order a trial.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 25, at the couple’s home on the 2700 block of East Avenue J-4 in Lancaster. Several family members were gathered at the home for a holiday party, when Silas and his wife began arguing over finances, Sheriff’s officials said.
Silas allegedly retrieved a handgun from inside his home and confronted his wife by telling her to shoot him with it, according to Lancaster Community Relations deputy Miguel Ruiz. When she declined, Silas alleged shot his wife in the stomach, Ruiz said.
Family members called 9-1-1, and when deputies responded, Silas was in his front yard holding a handgun, according to Ruiz. Silas complied with deputies’ orders to drop the handgun, and he was arrested around 12:58 a.m., Ruiz said.
His wife was transported to the hospital and was in stable condition.
Silas has been jailed since his Dec. 25 arrest, with bail set at $2 million.
If convicted as charged, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 32 years to life in state prison.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station.
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