Rabideau’s taped conversation with police played—(Pressrepublocan.com)

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Pressrepublocan.com

By ANDREA VanVALKENBURG

May 7, 2009

PLATTSBURGH ­ After shooting her estranged husband last spring, Brenda Rabideau hid inside her former Mooers Forks home, consumed by a mix of emotions.She let the phone ring for a long time before she picked up, sounding chipper before breaking down in heavy sobs.When she heard State Police Senior Investigator Pat Mitchell on the other line, she calmly asked: “What are you going to do with me? Lock me up?”As the veteran investigator tried to convince her to surrender, the 50-year-old mother of four said: “He ruined my life … I shot him … I was just scaring him. I didn’t mean to hit him.“I was just scaring him. I didn’t mean to hit him,” she repeated.TAPE PLAYEDDuring the conversation, which was recorded and played in court Thursday during Mrs. Rabideau’s attempted-murder trial, she told Mitchell about the apparent downward spiral of her life: the recent deaths of several loved ones, her battle with cancer and her unreturned love toward her husband.She threatened to harm herself and use the last “shell for me,” pausing to apparently ingest a number of anti-depressant pills.“I’m in the hole, and I have nothing. Absolutely nothing,” she sobbed, relaying her frustration with her ongoing divorce from Ricky Rabideau, her husband of nearly 20 years.As police carrying firearms gathered outside, she went into a destructive rampage that could be heard on tape.“I have to destroy the house first because he has everything and I have nothing,” she said as she smashed dishes and photos and ripped mounted animals from the wall.“I want to hurt him as much as he hurt me.”Before surrendering, Mrs. Rabideau admitted she “still loved him” and paused again “to take them all (the pills); that way I can die on the way,” fearing she would be thrown “in (jail) with all the other crazies.”SHE WAS UPSET’Investigator George Dyer took the Ellenburg Depot woman into custody outside the home, after she had just fired several rifle shots at Mr. Rabideau, hitting him once in the back before he escaped on a passing Church Oil delivery truck.“She was upset, disheveled. She’d been crying,” Dyer testified Thursday morning during the second day of Mrs. Rabideau’s trial before Clinton County Family Court and Integrated Domestic Violence Court Judge Timothy Lawliss.“She seemed more subdued now that it was over.“She made a comment that she didn’t care whether she lived or died .. She said she didn’t mean to hurt him, that she was shooting at the truck’s tires.”FIRE ERUPTSAs he stood next to Dyer and Mrs. Rabideau after the shooting last April, Sgt. James Patterson said, he looked toward the home and saw smoke billowing out the front door.When police ran inside, they discovered a small fire inside the dining room.“She said something like it was just a bag of potato chips, and that he deserved it anyway,” Patterson testified, as some of the nine male and five female jurors gazed at Mrs. Rabideau seated at the defense table.She kept her head bent and cried as the prosecution played the half-hour-long tape and darted out of the courtroom minutes later when the judge granted a brief break.A handful of her supporters in the courtroom also cried when they heard her on tape.EMOTIONAL STATEPolice officials are expected to return to the stand this afternoon to describe their involvement in the shooting investigation.Both the prosecution and defense attorneys questioned earlier witnesses in detail about Mrs. Rabideau’s emotional state that day, which is at issue and the basis for her defense of “extreme emotional disturbance.”The defense is not disputing that Mrs. Rabideau shot her ex-husband, who testified for several hours Wednesday but has not returned to court since.Prosecutors have argued that her actions demonstrate the clear intent of her crimes.So far, eight prosecution witnesses have taken the stand.Mrs. Rabideau remains free on $50,000 bond.E-mail Andrea VanValkenburg at:avanvalkenburg@pressrepublican.com