Reasonable Doubt examines the case of Warren and Bonnie Horinek from Forth Worth, Texas. The pair had a difficult marriage, and when Bonnie ended up shot dead, her husband wound up in prison convicted of her murder.
Warren has been described as a “vicious drunk with a history of threatening his wife;” however, there are many people who believe Bonnie killed herself on that fateful night in March 1995.
Warren dialed 911, his first words were slurred and incomprehensible, but he eventually made himself understood, he was claiming his wife had just shot herself, and he was demanding an ambulance.
When medics arrived they found Warren behaving strangely; firstly, the front door was locked, he then disappeared to look after a dog before returning to perform CPR on his wife’s already dead body.
Warren’s story changed a couple of times, he told some investigators that someone must have broken-in and killed Bonnie, and he explained to others it was suicide.
Did Bonnie Horinek commit suicide, or was it murder?
Police found two firearms at the scene and zero signs of a break-in. Police decided there were only two possible outcomes: either Bonnie had committed suicide or Warren had murdered his wife.
While the autopsy reported listed the cause of death as undetermined, it appeared to suggest that the wound was self-inflicted: “Both the location and proximity of the gunshot wound along with an absence of defensive wounds are suggestive of a self–inflicted gunshot wound,” the report read.
Many of the investigating officers, experienced homicide detectives, began to believe Warren was telling the truth of a suicide. Mike Parrish, an assistant D.A. in Forth Worth, examined the case and decided not to prosecute. “I always thought that it was suicide,” Parrish says. “Still do.”
However, Bonnie’s family and friends flat out rejected the idea she might have killed herself. They pointed to the fancy new job she’d just gotten downtown with a six-figure salary. Colleagues considered her a “rising star” at the law firm where she worked as a labor and employment lawyer.
While her marriage had had problems and she suffered bouts of depression, they argued that she generally seemed content.
Warren Horinek liked to play with guns when drunk
Warren had a history of abusive behavior and was known to enjoy playing with guns when drunk; he even admitted to previously firing a gun in her direction. On the night of Bonnie’s death, he had consumed at least eleven beers.
But what ultimately led to Warren’s conviction was the blood splatter evidence on his shirt that appeared to suggest he was in the room when Bonnie died.
In 1996, Warren Horinek, a former Forth Worth police officer who had lost his job due to his drinking, was convicted of murdering his wife.
More from Reasonable Doubt
Follow the links to read about more possible miscarriages of justice from Reasonable Doubt.
In another case of a husband and wife duo where the wife ends up dead, Kathy Middleton died from a gunshot wound in 1990 in Missouri. Her husband, Ken Middleton, has been in prison ever since. However, many believe Ken is the victim of a botched investigation, and Kathy’s death was a tragic accident.
Reasonable Doubt also looked at the case of Claude Garrett, who was accused of killing his 24-year-old girlfriend Lorie Lance Lee in 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee. Garrett was charged with setting the fire that killed Lorie; however, some believe that new scientific developments in fire investigation suggest he might be innocent.
Watch The Meanest Drunk in the South on Reasonable Doubt at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.