About $20,000 in bills from home shopping channels was the tipping point in a long-standing feud about finances, driving Egbert Courtney to kill his wife, a Gwinnett County detective testified Thursday.
Courtney — tall and lanky, 60 years old, a few days’ worth of beard growing on his long face — sat next to his attorney Thursday morning, listening silently to the hour-long proceedings in front of a Gwinnett magistrate judge. He stared down at his green jumpsuit, moving a long thumb up and down and watching the muscles of his forearm shift as Detective Cole Crosby spoke about the events of March 1.
Sonia Courtney, 58, was shot twice in the back inside the master bathroom of the couple’s Dacula home, the bullets from her husband’s .38 revolver piercing her lung and spine. She was dead when police arrived shortly after 10 a.m., called to the two-story home on Kachina Trail by an already apologetic Egbert Courtney, the investigator said.
“(Courtney) told me that he was upset with (his wife) because she was spending a lot on items on the Home Shopping Network and other things like that he didn’t think were necessary,” Crosby said Thursday.
Finances were “pretty tight” in the Courtney household, Crosby testified, and the couple had reportedly been arguing about money for months. Online records show Courtney filed an affidavit of indigence with the courts, despite his home being valued at just over $186,000.
Egbert Courtney is a semi-retired bowling alley manager and his wife did not work.
After allegedly shooting his wife that morning, an emotional Courtney called 911 to report doing so. When police arrived, he was waiting peacefully for them and detained without a struggle, authorities said.
Even before calling emergency dispatchers, though, Courtney reportedly called two other people: his wife’s sister in New York and the couple’s son, Kirk, in California. He spoke with the former and explained what happened, Crosby said. He left a simple voicemail for the latter.
“He told Kirk to call him about his mother,” Crosby said.