Wayne Breen was furious, his hand pressed against his wife Kacie’s throat, her back flush against her SUV in the couple’s garage. His rage, which she had seen many times before, was volcanic. So, at least, Kacie Breen says.
Moments before, he had vowed that he would never let her leave, especially not with the couple’s 7-year-old son.
Fighting for breath and fearing for her life, she says, she reached down in the car door pocket, where she kept a 9mm pistol for protection. She raised it and fired. He jumped back before lunging at her anew.
She fired again. This time, Wayne Breen dropped to the ground, where his life ebbed out of him as his wife administered CPR and frantically urged first responders to hurry.
That account of the events of the early morning of March 1, when Kacie Breen fatally shot her husband at their Folsom-area home, is revealed in court documents filed Monday by her attorney, Richard Ducote.
Ducote filed a motion for summary judgment, asking a St. Tammany Parish judge to dismiss a wrongful-death suit filed by one of Wayne’s sons from a previous marriage. As an exhibit, the motion included a 12-page affidavit from Kacie herself.
In that affidavit, she provides the most detailed recounting to date of the events that led to her husband’s death, as well as detailing what she describes as years of abuse, rage, alcoholism and lies.
“At the time of the shooting, there was no doubt in my mind that firing the gun twice at my husband was necessary to protect me from immediate death or severe bodily harm at his hands,” Breen’s affidavit begins.
That shooting touched off months of investigation by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, which concluded earlier this month with Sheriff Jack Strain announcing that detectives had found no probable cause to arrest Kacie Breen in her husband’s death. The District Attorney’s Office is now reviewing the case.
In previous filings, Kacie Breen has alleged that her husband, a popular Covington OB/GYN, feared that lies he had told about his Vietnam service might come to light, destroying his public reputation. Fearing that, he had become more frequently enraged, she said.
Monday’s filing, however, presents a much more detailed account of the night he died, as well as of the two months prior, in which Kacie Breen’s inquiries into her husband’s past caused him to become increasingly erratic, the affidavit says.
Tension between the pair escalated in January, when Kacie Breen learned Wayne had fathered an out-of-wedlock child, who was now grown.
After that revelation and because of her suspicions about Wayne’s Vietnam stories, Kacie asked Wayne to sign a form requesting a copy of his military record from the U.S. Department of Defense. He signed the form without protest on Feb. 26, three days before he was shot. Kacie faxed it to the government the next day.
On Feb. 28, Wayne Breen was distant and short with Kacie and her son, she says. That night, Wayne asked for the military service form back. Kacie said it was too late — she’d already sent it.
“His entire demeanor changed even more dramatically,” she says in the affidavit. “He began to sway back and forth.”
The couple began to argue; Wayne became angrier. Kacie headed for the garage to turn on her car so it could warm up before she got the couple’s son and headed for her mother’s residence to allow Wayne to cool down.
“I said, ‘I’m leaving,’ and he screamed, ‘You’re not taking (their son).’ I screamed back that I was not leaving (their son) with him.”
Kacie says she sat down in her car, but Wayne grabbed the keys and her phone and flung them away. She begged him to let her leave, according to the affidavit.
“He said very coldly, almost inhuman, ‘You KNOW I can’t let you go.’ I was completely terrified,” she says.
Wayne dragged her from the car and pressed her down onto the floor of the garage, ordering her to promise she wouldn’t go. She agreed, and he let her up and pressed her against the frame of the SUV.
“He was squeezing my neck so hard against the frame of the car, I just knew he was not going to let go again. I feared strangulation,” Kacie Breen says. “I knew without a doubt he was going to kill me.”
She says she was “devastated and petrified” and reached into the car door pocket, where she grabbed the gun, and fired.
“Wayne jumped back a step as if surprised and said something like, ‘What the (expletive) are you doing?’ Then he lunged back toward me with his hands extended toward me. Believing I missed, and that since he was more enraged now and would definitely kill me, I had raised my pistol to firing position and fired once again. He immediately fell to the ground,” she says.
Wayne Breen lay on the floor, gasping for breath. Kacie Breen called 911 and tried to give Wayne CPR.
“I was screaming to Wayne, ‘Please don’t leave me,’ ” she says. “Wayne’s breathing became more and more shallow and erratic and he was turning cold, so I was attempting to give him breaths and hold my hands over the bullet hole as the dispatcher was instructing.”
Kacie Breen stayed there until deputies asked her to leave, according to the affidavit.
“I know that I had no other choice if I were to save my own life, and to prevent (their son) from also suffering a dangerous fate,” she says.
Breen also recounts several instances over the years in which she says she was forced to stay with her mother when Wayne flew into an alcohol-fueled rage.
Affidavits from her mother and her adult son from a previous relationship testify to witnessing either Wayne’s abuse of Kacie or evidence of it, such as bruises.
Although Kacie Breen has not been arrested in connection with her husband’s death, she is fighting with his other heirs in two separate courtroom battles: the wrongful-death suit and a battle over Wayne Breen’s succession.
Rene Frederick, an attorney for Breen’s children, who are challenging the succession and one of whom is suing her for wrongful death, dismissed Ducote’s motion as “self-serving.”
“Summary judgment is only appropriate after ‘adequate discovery,’ which has only just begun,” Frederick said.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.