FORSYTH, MO. (KMOX) – Authorities say a southern Missouri man told investigators he was either sleepwalking or dreaming when he fatally shot his sleeping ex-wife.

Seventy-three-year-old Eldon Ault Jr. is charged in Taney County with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Deputies responded Friday to Ault’s mobile home near Forsyth, Missouri and found 73-year-old Deanna Merritt, Ault’s ex-wife dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Ault told authorities he sleeps with a loaded pistol under his pillow for protection, and that the sound of the gunshot woke him up. Ault reportedly said the victim planned to leave that morning to stay with another former husband.

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