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Trial Begins for Man Accused of Murdering his Wife with Antifreeze

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Prosecutors are making their case against an Augusta County man accused of poisoning his wife to death with antifreeze.

Shelby Bartley, 76, was transported to Augusta Health after falling ill at her and Vatter’s home on Kenwood Drive back in March 2014. She died three weeks later on April 8.  

David Vatter was indicted on charges of first-degree murder on November 28, 2016.  

Vatter’s official trial started the morning of August 7, 2017.

In opening statements, the Augusta County commonwealth's attorney claimed Vatter murdered his wife to get money from her life insurance policy to pay down more than $150,000 in debts.

The prosecutor says evidence will show Shelby had 25 times the lethal dose of ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, in her system.

Vatter's defense attorney suggested Shelby committed suicide by drinking antifreeze.

The trial is scheduled to last four days total.