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Murder of Elizabeth Spinks by her husband Paul Spinks investigated on Fatal Vows

Mugshot of Paul Spinks
Paul Spinks was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife, Elizabeth Spinks. Pic credit: WV Dept. of Corrections

Fatal Vows is investigating the murder of Elizabeth Spinks, who was shot dead by her husband Paul Darren Spinks at their home in Birch River in Nicholas County, West Virginia.

On October 31, 2007, Paul Spinks dialed 911 and claimed that he and his wife, Elizabeth, had come under attack from a distant sniper while they were sitting on their front porch.

Spinks later claimed that he heard a gunshot and saw Elizabeth fall to the ground clutching her neck. He said he then went inside to grab his cellphone and dial 911. He allegedly went back outside to check on Elizabeth and was still on the phone to 911 when he was shot in the thigh. He claims he then went inside the house and drifted in and out of consciousness before help arrived.

When the police arrived, they found 35-year-old Elizabeth had tragically passed away, and Spinks was in the bathroom bleeding heavily from a wound in his leg.

The cops were suspicious of a couple of strange comments that Spinks made at the scene of the crime and later from his hospital bed, such as drawing their attention to a bullet hole in the wall of the house, and without reason asking the investigators to check his hands for gunpowder residue to prove he hadn’t fired a gun.

Spinks told the police that he thought the shooter had fired from a white pickup truck, and he also claimed that a man called Harvey Hersman had been phoning his wife in the last few months and had threatened to kill him. The cops spoke to Hersman, and on finding he had a reliable alibi, they eliminated him from the investigation.

The cops started building a case against Paul Spinks

The investigators began to poke holes in Spinks’s story. He claimed he was shot on the porch, but his blood was only found in the bathroom. A suspected bullet hole was located in the floor of the bathroom where the cops had found Spinks leading them to suspect he had shot himself.

The forensic detectives began examining the blood splatter and the so-called trajectory of the bullets, and their research just didn’t match with Spinks’s version of events.

Furthermore, Spinks claimed he had been shot approximately 20 seconds after Elizabeth, but all their neighbors reported hearing the second shot around five minutes later.

The investigators also learned that earlier in the year, Spinks had been abusive to Elizabeth, slamming her against the floor. They also found divorce papers hidden in her car, which suggested their marriage was in trouble and that she was planning on leaving him.

The cops concluded that Spinks murdered Elizabeth and then concocted the story of a sniper to try to throw off the investigation. His plan failed.

In the fall of 2015, a jury found Spinks guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

More from Fatal Vows

Follow the links to read about more murders committed between married couples.

Juan Gonzales choked his wife, Kathy Lujan, to death during an argument about money. He then wrapped up her remains in a blanket and dumped her in a drainage ditch in a Texas oil field before filing a missing persons report with the cops.

Jo Ringer told friends that she was scared of her husband, Chad Reidy. She said she was planning to escape when the time was right. Unfortunately, that time never came, as she was subsequently reported missing; her remains were found a year later. As the police were building their case against Chad Reidy, he evaded justice by committing suicide.

Fatal Vows airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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