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Seagrove firefighter’s wife accused of murder could face death penalty

MJ Auman was laid to rest Friday. Earlier in the day, his wife Heather appeared in court for a first-degree murder charge.

SEAGROVE, N.C. — Fire trucks from around the area lined up to honor MJ Auman. The Seagrove Fire Department said it has been an extremely difficult time for them and the community.

On the same day he was remembered, his wife, Heather Auman, 37, who's accused of killing him made her first court appearance.

She faces a first-degree murder charge after Randolph County Sheriff's deputies found her husband who was shot Saturday. Per Judge Hon Scott C. Etheridge, Auman’s maximum sentence is the death sentence if she's found guilty. Judge Etheridge said the sentence qualifies Auman for a death penalty lawyer. According to legal experts though, that doesn't mean she'll be on death row. 

"The death penalty in the state is for capital offenses generally meaning first-degree murder. Again, the prosecutor has discretion as whether to seek the death penalty. If the prosecutor seeks the death penalty that doesn't mean it will be given even upon conviction,” Steven Friedland, Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law said.

When Heather called 911, she claimed her husband had shot himself, but investigators arrested and charged her with murder on Wednesday. She was jailed with no bond allowed. 

MJ will be laid to rest Friday evening. His funeral is set for 6:30 p.m. at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove. MJ leaves behind an 11-year-old son. 

Credit: WFMY News 2
MJ Auman remembered

Heather's next court appearance is August 2. We've reached out to her lawyers and are waiting to hear back. 

RELATED: 'He told me he couldn't do it anymore,' Seagrove firefighter's wife claims husband shot himself

RELATED: 'A devastating blow to the fire service' | Randolph County firefighter dies unexpectedly

Listen to parts of Heather's 911 call.

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