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Woman ordered to stand trial for shooting death of partner

SALT LAKE CITY — As she paced around in his driveway, dazed and upset, a family friend who had known Sue Mary Hickman since childhood said it was clear something was wrong.

"She wasn't herself. She was somewhere else in space," Ernest Larry Bailey, a longtime friend of Hickman's father, told a judge during a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Hickman had called Bailey on Dec. 18, he said, sounding troubled and asking to bring her two dogs over. Bailey agreed, then waited for the woman to arrive.

Watching her strange behavior, Bailey asked Hickman what was going on.

"I think I shot Rosie," Bailey said Hickman had told him.

"That's not something you think. You either did or you didn't," Bailey said he replied.

Hickman then said, "I'm sure I did," and Bailey responded by saying they needed to call police immediately.

Rose Marie Harris, 54, was found shot once in the chest, dead on the couch in the home the couple shared at 573 N. Wall St. in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Along with Harris' body, police testified Tuesday they found a silver handgun and shell casings.

Following testimony from Bailey, a dispatcher who took Hickman's 911 calls and police who investigated the shooting, 3rd District Judge Vernice Trease ordered Hickman to stand trial for a charge of murder, a first-degree felony, in Harris' death.

Shackled and seated next to her attorneys, Hickman, 54, hung her head and wept as her own voice was heard in recordings of the 911 calls played in court Tuesday, asking for a welfare check for Harris.

When the dispatcher asked why the check is needed, an emotional Hickman replied, "'Cause I shot her."

As the dispatcher asks more questions, Hickman interrupts.

"I did it. She made me snap. I couldn't take it anymore, her drinking," Hickman said in the recording.

In his testimony, Bailey said he had briefly met Harris only once, but that through the years he had heard the couple had "some knock-down, drag-out affairs," generally associated with Harris' drinking.

Hickman occasionally would show up at his house, Bailey said, explaining that she and Harris had been fighting and that she had left the house to take a break.

"I heard it was good times, wonderful times, and then bad times when the whiskey came," he said.

Hickman is scheduled for an arraignment July 10 with 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy.