Subha Katel, 43, stands next to a court translator in Fairfield Municipal Court during a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 4, 2019. She is charged with negligent homicide in the shooting death of her husband, Tika Katel, 57. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

‘I have a dead body’: Fairfield woman charged in husband’s shooting death will continue to wear monitor

But Judge Joyce Campbell was adamant about having Subha Katel’s travel monitored at all times while her case continues.

“I’m not taking it off. I have a dead body,” Campbell said before attorney Tina Barrett requested to approach the bench for a sidebar conversation with Prosecutor Patrick Oelrich.

Campbell said during the sidebar conversation “give me one reason” why she needed to have the monitor removed, adding that she’s charged with negligent homicide and is being represented by Barrett, an appointed public defender.

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Barrett argued her points for the monitor’s removal for several minutes.

The only thing decided by the judge and Barrett Wednesday was to continue the pre-trial hearing for 1 p.m. Oct. 9.

Last month, Campbell ordered 43-year-old Subha Katel to wear an electronic monitoring device around her ankle. She also surrendered her passport and is regulated to travel only in Ohio.

Katel was charged on Aug. 13 with negligent homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor, three days after what family members called a “horrific accident,” and the day after her husband Tika Katel died from a gunshot wound on the left side of his head.

Police say Katel was handling a handgun belonging to a cousin who was visiting Tika Katel’s ill mother on Aug. 10 at their Sigmon Way home. Police say the gun fired and the bullet struck the 57-year-old in the head. He was transported to Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital, then to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died on Aug. 12.

"The circumstances of this case are horrific," Barrett said to the Journal-News. "It is a tragedy for the entire Fairfield community, but it is a nightmare without end for my client and her family. 

“Nothing can transpire in the court that will change that or undo what has happened. My goal is to get my client and her family through this process without making it worse. My hope is that these goals are shared by those who ultimately have the power to support such aims."

Katel’s family was quick to jump to her defense, telling the Journal-News they believe she will be acquitted or the charges will be dropped.

Family members spoke with the Journal-News after Katel’s August arraignment. They said the couple, who had been together for 26 years, were living the American Dream and “loved each other.” They moved to Fairfield less than a year ago and moved to southwest Ohio from Nepal several years before.

Barrett filed last month a motion for discovery, looking for a host of types of documentation, including any and all documents in the prosecutor’s possession, original hand-written field notes by investigating and responding officers, photos and negative prints, video of Katel being interviewed by police, dispatch logs, transcripts of tapes, and any oral and written statements of witnesses the prosecution intends to call at a trial.

Barrett said she’s received some but is still waiting on other documents from the prosecutor’s office and Fairfield Police Department.