Ottawa Co. man told officers gun accidentally fired, killing wife

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) —The case of an Ottawa County man accused of shooting and killing his wife is headed to trial.

Jaron Chatman is charged with manslaughter in the October death of his wife, 24-year-old Emily Chatman.

The shooting happened at the couple’s home near Coopersville on Oct. 21, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. Emily Chatman died from the gunshot wound to her head less than three weeks later.

On Friday morning at a preliminary hearing in Grand Haven district court, an Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputy testified that Jaron Chatman told her the shooting was an accident.

“He had a firearm that was on the back of the couch,” Deputy Meri-Beth Brouwer said. “He touched the trigger and it went off.”

Detectives also testified that Jaron Chatman admitted the couple had been going through a rough stretch.

In November, News 8 reported that Emily Chatman tried to get a personal protection order against her husband in 2018, but it was denied.

During the hearing, detectives explained what the living situation was like at home for the Chatmans and their three children.

“The way that he and Emily were treating their relationship was almost a co-existence. sharing the home together,” said Det Tyler Kempema. “He would work, pay the bills. Emily would take care of the children, take care of the home. That there was discussion or plans for a divorce, but because of financial reasons, they weren’t really able to pursue actually going through a divorce.”

Jaron Chatman’s case has been bound over for trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court. He’s scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 6, 2020.

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