According to a police affidavit used as the factual basis for Ferrell’s plea, she walked into the kitchen where her then-husband and another woman were standing and raised a .357 Magnum from her side.
“(The husband) told me that she (Ferrell) was pointing the handgun directly at his chest and was squeezing the trigger,” wrote Cody Police Officer Jason Stafford. “When (the husband) saw the hammer of the handgun start to rise up, he stepped forward and swept the gun to the side just as it went off.”
The gun fired into the floor of the residence, which is located on the Southfork Road near its junction with U.S. 14-16-20.
An 8-year-old and 4-year-old were in the home at the time of the March 12 morning shooting.
Ferrell initially told police that the gun accidentally fired as she was bringing it up to kill herself. According to Stafford’s affidavit, she was upset in part because she and her husband — of nearly 41 years at the time — were separated and he was talking about getting a divorce.
He did file for a divorce four days after the incident, and it was granted in June. The divorce document said Ferrell’s last name would be restored to Weatherrill.
The aggravated assault charge was a reduction from an original charge of attempted second-degree murder, which carries a minimum penalty of 20 years of prison time. The reduced charge was a part of a plea agreement that also included a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment with a firearm being dismissed.
Deputy Park County Attorney Tim Blatt said he offered the deal because of Ferrell’s age, criminal history and some mental health issues.
“However, you obviously had to weigh that with the severity of the offense and the fact that someone could have been seriously injured or killed,” Blatt said.
In a filing submitted while the case was still scheduled for trial, Blatt said there was an earlier incident in mid-January 2011 where Mary Ferrell attempted to assault her husband with her hands, a cereal box and then a log reindeer.
“(The husband) indicated that he did not wish to pursue charges, but wanted law enforcement to be aware of the incident in the event the circumstances repeat themselves,” Blatt wrote.