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Norco man pleads guilty to shooting wife in face

By Jonathan Menard -   Jul 18, 2013

The home where Otto Barrera shot his wife and himself.
The home where Otto Barrera shot his wife and himself.

A Norco man who admitted shooting his wife in the face with a shotgun at close range before turning the gun on himself has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempted second-degree murder.

Otto Barrera, 46, faced a maximum sentence of 50 years but took a plea deal to receive the mandatory 10-year sentence without benefit of parole. He will begin serving his sentence on Sept. 3.

The horrific scene unfolded on June 24, 2012 after Barrera, his wife Catherine and their teenage daughter spent the day fishing at the Bonnet Carre Spillway. The couple’s daughter told police that Barrera had been drinking all day and that he and his wife got into an argument on the way home.

According to his daughter, Barrera punched his wife in the face when they got inside their house and grabbed her by the throat before flinging her into the bedroom.

Barrera left the room but returned with a 12-gauge shotgun and ordered his wife to lie on the bed. The daughter says she tried to get between her mother and the gun, but she was pushed aside by her father.

A second later, Barrera fired the shotgun directly into his wife’s face.

The daughter quickly escaped from the bedroom, grabbed a friend who was in the living room and fled to a neighbor’s home. When she arrived, she called police.

Police were on the scene shortly after when a second gunshot rang out in the air. Officers saw Barrera come out of the house naked and bleeding from a gunshot wound to his face. He walked out the front door and collapsed before being taken to the hospital.

While Barrera was being loaded into an ambulance he told a deputy that his wife was trying to take his kids, but he "got her."

St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies rushed into the home and found Catherine lying on the bed covered in blood. Despite the gruesome injury, she was still alive and was rushed to the hospital in a second ambulance.

Police officers on the scene said that bone and tissue could be found on the ceiling and the walls and that there was a huge hole in the ceiling from where Barrera had shot himself.

Sheriff Greg Champagne said that the couple had previously separated with Catherine having left the state. She had returned to visit with her children.

Both Barrera and Catherine have undergone several facial reconstruction surgeries since the shooting.

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