LEAGUE CITY, Texas – Three years later a man from league city accused of killing his wife on Thanksgiving.
Galveston County District Judge John Ellisor sentenced Dudley Joseph Bernard to 30 years in prison for the shooting and murder of his wife in 2019.
According to reports, Bernard, who was 40 at the time, called 911 saying he had accidentally shot his wife, Shontelle Lenya Bernard, at their home on Indigo Harbor Lane in League City. When the police arrived around 11 p.m., they saw the back door collapse, and Shontel Bernard’s sister, Trinelle Merix, running back and forth screaming “he killed my sister.” Mrs. Bernard’s mother and children were also at home.
League City officers found Ms. Bernard’s body in the foyer of her home with several shell casings on the floor.
Dudley Bernard to quickly arrest him for murder.
He went to jury trial in August and the state invited Bernards’ neighbors, who told the jury that the couple were good, normal people.
However, no one in the South Shore Harbor neighborhood knew the couple’s suffering with infidelity and marital strife.
Through the testimony of Schontel Bernard’s sister, an eyewitness, Mrs. Bernard allegedly shouted to Merricks that Dudley Bernard would get his gun.
The state showed Ring camera video footage taken by a neighbor showing that Mr. Bernard walked into his truck and grabbed the gun. He walked to the back of the house and kicked the back door in.
Reports say he pushed Merricks aside and shot Shontel Bernard in the arm, side, and the side of her head. While she was lying on the ground, he fired six more bullets in the back of her head.
Evidence showed that Dudley Bernard emptied an entire .45-caliber magazine. A child from Chauntelle, whose birthday was the next day, heard the shooting and saw his mother dead on the ground.
According to Detective Marty Grant, this was one of the most brutal crime scenes he had seen after more than 30 years as a police officer.
Records stated that the jury returned a guilty verdict on August 5, and Bernard chose to have the sentence evaluated by a judge.
Judge Elliser had a hearing on October 7 where he heard evidence from Merricks about how the murder affected the family including the two minor children of Chauntelle he is now raising. Merricks shared how her little sister was the light in their family and they missed her every day.
The court even heard Dudley Bernard who testified that his wife had abused him and changed his original story from the introductory investigation report. The defense called witnesses from a 2014 DRS telegram, in which Mr. Bernard showed a small scratch that his wife allegedly gave him.
Reports say no one has been arrested and the defense has not presented any further evidence of abuse.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Whitney Rasberry has argued that Dudley Bernard is a dangerous man who will kill again if released. Rasberry asked the judge to begin sentencing at 60.
Judge Elisor sentenced Bernard, now 43, to 30 years in prison on October 28 and will be eligible for parole after 15 years.
According to reports, Dudley and Shontelle Bernard both worked for US Customs and Border Patrol. A spokesperson released this statement after the 2019 shooting:
“US Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist Dudley Bernard was arrested by the University City Police Department on November 28 while off duty. Since August 2008, he has worked in CBP farming operations in the Port of Houston environment. CBP is collaborating Borders fully with the League City Police Department leading this investigation CBP Officer Chauntelle Bernard joined CBP in 2008 and worked her way up the chain of command to become a CBP Supervising Officer Houston was her only place of business No words could express the feeling of loss leading to death SCBPO Bernard to her colleagues and friends at CBP. Please direct any further inquiries to the League City Police Department.”
The state was represented at trial by Rasberry and Assistant Attorney General Casey Kerst.
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