Camas woman accused of murdering husband in couple’s home

Stephanie ‘Sam’ Westby said she feared Joseph Westby was going to kill her

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A Camas woman has been charged with first-degree murder after she allegedly shot and killed her husband in the couple’s Camas home Sunday evening.
Vancouver police responded to 19408 S.E. 42nd Circle in Camas at 8:31 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15, after a report of a disturbance with a weapon.
Inside the home, officers discovered the lifeless body of 51-year-old Joseph Westby.
Outside, an officer detained the victim’s wife, 47-year-old Stephanie “Sam” Westby, and placed her in handcuffs.
According to court documents, Sam Westby had called 911 at 8:21 p.m. that evening and told dispatchers she and her husband had had a fight and she feared for her life.
“I thought he was going to kill me and I shot him,” Sam Westby told 911 dispatcher, according to the arresting officer’s declaration of probable cause. “I think he’s dead.”
Police reported that Sam Westby was “hysterical and crying” during the 911 call and that she remained visibly upset and was crying after officers transported her to the Clark County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit (MCU) office.
During her interview with MCU detectives, Sam Westby reportedly said her husband had attacked her and was going to kill her before asking for an attorney.
The Camas couple had two teen children, an 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, according to court documents.
Detectives reported in probable cause documents that the teens reported no history of domestic violence in the home, and that “any type of violence would be out of character for either (parent).”
The couple’s son told police his parents’ marriage began to fall apart in May.
“The marriage suffered and they have been in a constant state of turmoil since,” the documents state.
The son also told police that his mother, Sam Westby, had asked him and his sister to leave the house Sunday evening, according to the court documents.
“He did not find this odd, because (the parents) have kept their fighting away from the kids and (he) knew this meant they were going to argue,” Detective Justin Messman wrote in the probable cause document, adding that the couple’s daughter told police she found it odd when her mother suggested she spend the night at her boyfriend’s house Sunday night.
“Both kids were out of the home at their mother’s request at the time of the shooting,” Messman wrote in the probable cause document.
The detective added that, when he entered the home, he found it “very neat and orderly” with no “overt signs normally associated with a physical altercation. There was no broken or damaged furniture or personal belongings.”
Police charged Sam Westby with one count of first-degree murder.
On Tuesday, Sam Westby made her first appearance before Clark County Superior Court Judge John P. Fairgrieve, who set her bail at $500,000 with the conditions that she live with Lynnea Berg, a family friend, at Berg’s Brush Prairie home; not possess any firearms; and not travel outside of Clark County or the Portland metro area.
Sam Westby is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27.