MIDDLETOWN — A 73-year-old woman shot her husband in the head while he lay in bed after his debilitating strokes became too much for her to endure as his caregiver, investigators say.

Michele Linzalone, 73, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder. Prosecutors said she had tried to cover up the crime by claiming it had been an accident.

Investigators said they uncovered incriminating internet searches that pointed to her as a suspect. And they say relatives revealed that Linzalone had become resentful about being forced to become her husband's primary caretaker after his disability.

Before the 911 call

Linzalone called police to their Borden Road home in the Oak Hill section about 10:10 a.m. Monday and told officers that she had accidentally shot husband Rocky V. Linzalone, 74.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, she told responding officers she was “playing” with a Glock handgun by aiming it at her husband while he was sleeping.

She believed the chamber to be empty when the gun went off and fired a bullet into his head, according to the affidavit.  Police found a spent casing on the bed and later in the pillow under the victim’s head, according to the affidavit.

Linzalone told officers that the gun was kept in a drawer beside her side of the bed and was usually loaded in case it was needed.

Linzalone told officers that she waited nearly 30 minutes to dial 911 because she was in shock and wanted to get dressed and brush her teeth, according to detectives. The officers also took notice of her "indifferent, nonchalant demeanor" throughout their conversation.

'if you shoot someone in the head will they die instantly' — what investigators say the suspect searched for online

A revealing internet search

The story began to unravel after Linzalone gave one of the detectives her iPhone when asked for it, officials said.

After a search warrant was obtained, police said they found an internet search — timestamped shortly before the 911 call — using such terms as “if you shoot someone in the head will they die instantly” and "what does it feel like to get shot in the head," according to the affidavit.

Linzalone also visited websites with answers to questions such as “do you die instantly from a gunshot to the head" and "do you feel any pain at all," according to the affidavit.

On Nov. 18, she also did a search “are hollow points more powerful."

Caretaker fatigue

Two family members told detectives that the suspect's husband had suffered several strokes in the past two years, causing him to become disabled, according to the affidavit.

Michele Linzalone became his primary caregiver but the job had taken a toll on her and she had become resentful.

Michele Linzalone was being held Wednesday in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold following her first court appearance Tuesday.

New Jersey 101.5 did not know Wednesday whether Linzalone had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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