A night of heavy drinking may have led to a shooting early Wednesday morning in which a Santa Fe County woman is accused of killing her husband and wounding another woman at the couple’s home on Haozous Road.
Sheryl Graeb, 74, is charged with an open count of murder in the death of her husband, 75-year-old Kenneth Alvin Graeb, as well as aggravated assault and negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to a statement of probable cause filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.
Stephanie Slone, 53, who was injured in the incident, said the violence erupted as she was preparing to go to bed for the night. After she undressed, she told sheriff’s deputies, Kenneth Graeb entered the room and began to “touch and ‘caress’ her.”
Shortly after, Slone heard a gunshot and Kenneth Graeb was slumped on top of her, the court document said. She escaped the home with a gunshot to the shoulder and ran to a neighbor’s home to call 911.
The call came in around 1:15 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies arrived at the Graebs’ home and found Kenneth Graeb’s body in the living room, with his right arm slung over the coffee table and a single gunshot wound to his back. A .38 revolver was sitting nearby on an entertainment stand.
Sheryl Graeb, who was still inside the home, refused to respond to deputies’ commands, and a SWAT team was called in around 2:30 a.m.
The standoff ended peacefully a few hours later, the sheriff’s office said. Sheryl Graeb was taken into custody and questioned by investigators.
However, she seemed to have little memory of the shooting.
Slone told deputies she had arrived at the couple’s home at 92 Haozous Road around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. She and the Graebs had not seen each other for about two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, she said.
The Graebs already had started drinking by the time she arrived, Slone told investigators, and she joined them. Later, two other men came to the home, and the five of them consumed “multiple bottles of wine,” the charging document said.
After the two men left, Slone went to a bedroom and undressed, she told investigators, but she could not remember which one. She said she and the Graebs were the only people in the house.
When Kenneth Graeb came into the room and began touching her, Slone said, she asked him what he was doing, and where his wife was, and he called for Sheryl Graeb. Slone said she didn’t remember much of what came next, but she recalled the gunshot and Kenneth Graeb’s body falling on her.
She pushed him off and climbed out of a bathroom window, according to the charging document.
Before running to a neighbor’s home to call law enforcement, Slone ran back into the Graebs’ house to grab some clothes, the statement said. When she called 911, she told a dispatcher “Sherry” had shot her in the shoulder, and “Ken” was likely dead.
Slone was taken to the Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center and treated for the gunshot wound. She also had multiple bruises and abrasions on her arms and legs.
In an interview with investigators later, she said the Graebs had “20 to 50” guns in their home.
The statement of probable cause said Sheryl Graeb was “heavily intoxicated” as investigators attempted to interview her. She was given food and water “in an attempt to have a conscious conversation with her” about the shooting.
She became accusatory, according to the statement, asking the investigators if deputies “normally go to people’s houses and shoot them in their bed.” She also asked why they weren’t answering her questions about her husband — where he was and whether he OK.
She repeatedly told investigators she and her friends had been drinking.
“I didn’t eat,” she said, according to the statement. “I didn’t know they were coming over. Oh my God, we didn’t eat. I never got to cook.”
No test was conducted to determine her blood alcohol level, sheriff’s office spokesman Juan Ríos said.
When Sheryl Graeb was told her husband had died, she responded with a “head nod,” the charging document said, and she asked for an attorney.
Following the interview, she was arrested and booked into the Santa Fe County jail.
At the couple’s home, investigators found droplets of blood around the living room.
Blood also was found on the sheets of the bed in the master bedroom, with trails of blood leading into the living room and into the guest room, where a bathroom window was open and the screen had been removed, the statement said.