Charge Against Wife Reduced in Killing of Southwest Man

By Jackie Bensen
|  Thursday, Apr 4, 2013  |  Updated 6:35 AM EDT
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Charge Against Wife Reduced in Killing of SW Man

Diana Lalchan

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A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered a Walter Reed employee who admitted killing her husband released from jail Wednesday.

By the end of an extraordinarily detailed preliminary hearing, 27-year-old pharmacist Diana Lalchan went from being held without bond to being released to a halfway house until trial.

Prosecutors argued that the charge against Lalchan should be "bumped up" from second-degree murder to first-degree murder, indicating premeditation. They said her husband, 36-year-old Christopher Lalchan, was shot in the back of the head at the couple’s southwest D.C. condo March 28. They claimed Diana Lalchan was unnaturally calm during the 911 call she made:

Dispatcher: Do you need police, fire or ambulance? Hello?

Lalchan: I'm sorry.

Dispatcher: What's wrong?

Lalchan: My husband was getting violent.

Dispatcher: Where is your husband now?

Lalchan: On the floor.

Dispatcher: On the floor?

Lalchan: Yeah, I shot him.

Dispatcher: You shot your husband? Where's the weapon? Ma'am? Do you know where the weapon is?

Lalchan: Right here.

Diana Lalchan’s defense attorney said she was the victim of domestic violence and that she told coworkers, who attended the hearing, that her husband had in the past lifted her up off the ground while choking her. He said Diana Lalchan told them she never reported the violence for fear her husband would punish her.

Prosecutors pointed out that Diana Lalchan said her husband did not physically assault her the night of the murder, but the judge said he did find "elements of self-defense" in the case and reduced the charges to voluntary manslaughter.

Follow Jackie Bensen on Twitter: @jackiebensen

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