BEND, Ore. - Even before he came into view at his first court appearance Tuesday, Larry Loeffler's health problems were apparent.
"Can No. 12 on our list that we provided to you (be called up first)? He's on a limited battery supply for his oxygen," said a Deschutes County sheriff's deputy.
Another deputy cleared the way for the 86-year-old La Pine-area man, charged with murdering his wife, Betty, 83, to whom he'd been married for nearly 40 years.
With his feet propped up in a wheelchair, Loeffler, who turned 86 Sunday, held onto a cane and needed help breathing from an oxygen tank.
Loeffler only broke his silence when he told Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Adler that he couldn't hear him.
"You attorney, (Jacques) DeKalb said he was going to come out and meet with you sometime today, okay?" Adler told him.
"Thank you," replied Loeffler as he was wheeled out of view.
The Loefflers' home is on Old Mill Road near La Pine. Tall trees provide extra privacy, but a neighbor says from the outside looking in everything seemed fine.
The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told me Loeffler has been struggling with emphysema. And although Betty was 83, the neighbor says she took great care of her ailing husband.
"Domestic violence does occur throughout the lifetime," Janet Huerta, the executive director for Saving Grace, said Tuesday.
Huerta says often, nobody sees signs of abuse until police get involved.
"It's definitely something that will occur mostly in private," said Huerta.
Police cars and crime scene tape are no longer surrounding the Loeffler home, but questions about why Betty died are not going away.
Loeffler's autopsy is set for Wednesday; so far, police are only releasing that she died of a gunshot wound. Larry Loeffler is due back in court on Friday for his arraignment.