Relatives of slain woman curse, yell during husband’s court appearance

Posted: Updated:
An autopsy determined Tonie Wells died from asphyxiation. An autopsy determined Tonie Wells died from asphyxiation.
BROOKLYN -

As a Crown Heights man accused of killing his wife stood before a judge Thursday, her relatives had trouble holding back their anger, cursing and yelling.

Barry Wells, 29, appeared shaken by the outburst. He's accused of strangling his 22-year-old wife, Tonie Wells, in their Crown Heights brownstone on Dec. 27.

The victim had an outstanding order of protection against him at the time, and police initially charged him with assault and contempt before their investigation led to an upgraded murder charge. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say the couple got into an argument in their first-floor apartment while their 21-month-old daughter was locked out in the hallway. A neighbor checked on the baby and then found the wife unconscious in the apartment building's basement.

An autopsy determined she died from asphyxiation.

Police say they'd responded to the Wells' home in the past for other domestic incidents. But more shockingly, on the day of her death, two officers were called to the home but never got out of their car. They have been suspended and are being investigated.

Wells is due back in court March 14.

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