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Husband charged with murder after wife fatally shot in Riviera Beach

Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 23:00:34-04

Riviera Beach police said Wednesday a husband faces first-degree murder charges after fatally shooting his 31-year-old wife Tuesday. 

The domestic-related shooting occurred in the 2500 block of Canterbury Drive North around 6 p.m.

According to police, the husband, identified as Dwight Luton, 32, shot his wife, Ashley Balius, 31, once in the head.


Police said Balius was found seated in the driver's seat of a Chevy sport-utility vehicle that was parked in the driveway of the home. 

Investigators said Luton was standing next to the vehicle, appearing to provide aid to his injured wife.

Balius was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and pronounced dead several hours later.

Luton told police his wife accidentally shot herself while attempting to remove a gun from her purse.

She was shot on the right side of her head, near her right ear but there appeared to be no gunpowder stippling on her right hand, according to a probable cause affidavit. The report also said there was minimal blood found on her right hand.

Deputies obtained a search warrant and discovered a surveillance camera had a view of the driveway.

A detective reviewed the video and, according to a probable cause affidavit, it showed Luton get out of the passenger side door of the SUV around 5:54 p.m. with what appeared to be a backpack which he placed on the passenger seat and appeared to reach inside.

Luton retrieved what appeared to be a firearm and reached into the vehicle, according to the report.

A silhouette of Baluis' face could be slightly observed through the windshield as it appeared she was shot, according to the detective's account.

Luton is seen rummaging through his backpack and putting it over his shoulder as he reaches into the passenger side and appeared to be wiping down the dashboard and wiping himself down, the report said.

The detective also said Luton appeared to be talking on a phone while holding a sliver/white handgun as he walked toward the front door of the residence. One minute passes and Luton returns still talking on the phone. Police said he removed his shirt and appeared to render aid to Balius seconds before officers are seen arriving, the detective noted.

Luton was questioned and later charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and tampering or destroying evidence. Luton is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Overnight the SUV was towed from the house.

Police said they are still investigating what led to the shooting. 
"It is very disturbing to see family getting along like this when it comes to a gun and it's so easy to actually just walk away when it comes to that point," said neighbor Jeanette Francis. 
Francis has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. She says break-ins are not unusual, but never thought a domestic situation could turn so violent on her street. 
"This is just obscene, it's just really the worst, I just can't speak right now because of such a crime," added Francis.
"I wouldn't say at this point the citizens in the area should be concerned, because we do believe the individual we have in custody was responsible for the incident itself," said Riviera Beach Police Captain Glen Meyer.
A first court appearance for Luton was rescheduled for Thursday so he could hire a private attorney.