MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A Middletown woman accused of murdering her boyfriend months ago faced a judge for the first time Thursday.
Police say she told them her boyfriend killed himself, but now they believe she's to blame.
On the night police found 42-year-old Melissa Ziemba's boyfriend in their Meriden home with a gunshot wound to the chest, she told police, "I don't call police" and "I don't call 911."
Instead, they say she waited 45 minutes to call family and friends for help. In one conversation she said, "I don't want to go to jail. Rick shot himself." That's when her father and another man called 911.
For months, 48-year-old Richard West's close friend has been wondering what really happened.
"I noticed she looked pretty normal today too, yeah," said Brenda, victim's friend.
"When he was murdered, did you ever think she was a suspect," asked News 8's Erin Logan.
"I don't want to say too much," Brenda replied. "I know of them and I know him very well and I know of her, ya know."
Ziemba admitted to police she normally drinks endlessly and was drunk that night. She says she and West had a violent fight. He later said he wasn't going to deal with it anymore. When she heard a single "pop" she didn't actually think he'd kill himself, but police say her story kept changing.
Neighbors say sadly, there was never a dull moment between the couple, but they were surprised to hear that Ziemba is a murder suspect.
"She looked so nice, she would always say hi. I wouldn't think that," said Diangely Gonzalez. "They were always drinking, always fighting, he was always kicking her out of the house, it was crazy."
Ziemba tells police when the shot was fired, no one else was in the home and she did not kill West.
Her lawyer calls it a circumstantial case based on assumptions.
"He was a good friend and I just want to see justice done," Brenda said.
Ziemba is being held on $750,000 bond.
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