Dwight Luton: Accused murderer husband stumbles through 911 call, says wife 'had an accident'

Posted at 11:12 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 04:40:21-04

The public is hearing for the first time the 911 call a husband made after police say he shot and killed his wife in Riviera Beach last week.

Dwight Luton later told police she's shot herself on accident, but video, police say, would prove otherwise. He's in the Palm Beach County Jail, charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

So, what can we make of this 911 call?

At 5:54 p.m. on March 7, Dwight Luton, 32, is heard stumbling through a call to 911 in an audio recording obtained by our news partners at The Palm Beach Post:

Luton: My wife...she had an accident...she's in the...

911: OK, what happened?

Luton: We just went to the store.

911: Tell me what happened with the accident.

Luton: I need an ambulance right now.

911: I understand. I need to know what happened so I know what to send. Sir, what happened to her?

Luton: She's injured. She's got a gunshot wound.

He later told police his wife, Ashley Balius, 31, had accidentally shot herself trying to get her gun from her purse.

But investigators say cameras at their Riviera Beach home show Luton shot her, and then tried to cover it up before calling 911.

So, is he already trying to cover it up in the call?

"It may not be the cover up process, it may be the grieving process because he just went through something that's very traumatic," says attorney Stephanie Myron. "A lot of times you're in the instant and then a minute later you realize you take a step back. I think what we hear is him coming to grips with what he just did."

Luton was arrested on domestic violence charges in April last year, accusing him of drunkenly beating Balius. Those charges were later dropped, partly because he said Balius wasn't fearful of him.

An incident like that is a red flag, Myron says, who's a victim's rights lawyer.

She wants people in a abusive relationship to know there is a way out.

"Whenever I have clients who come to me and they're scared, I immediately want to talk about safety planning because if you go right into filing a legal document, an injunction, a restraining order, you don't know how that person is going to react when they get served."

Along with the various shelters in our area, something else you can do if you're not quite ready to report anything, she says: keep a journal, documenting each incident.  That can be used to help keep you safe in the long run.