EXCLUSIVE: Ben Wheeler man shoots wife, family and friends devastated

Ben Wheeler

VAN ZANDT COUNTY (KYTX) - A Ben Wheeler man is behind bars, accused of shooting and killing his wife, and shooting and injuring another man.

Van Zandt County Sheriff Lindsey Ray says Larry Maples shot his wife, 34-year-old Heather Maples, when he found her in her ex-boyfriend's bedroom.

Heather's best friend sat down with CBS 19's Courtney Friedman. It's an interview you'll only see on CBS 19 News.

"Heather was my best friend," Sandy Albritton said. "I've known Heather for about 15 years."

Albritton grapples for words as she talks about Heather Maples, who was once family to her.

"She was actually married to my cousin at one time," Albritton said.

It was Heather's latest husband, Larry Maples, who Sheriff Ray says shot her to death Sunday morning. Sheriff Ray says Larry found Heather at the home of her ex boyfriend, Moses or "Mo" Clemente.

"Our investigators have determined that Mr. Maples had arrived in the area of the shooting in the early hours of the morning. He parked his pick up a short distance from the scene," Sheriff Ray said.

Then Larry walked to Clemente's house, found his wife's truck parked in the back , and went in through the open back door.

"We believe that he found the couple in a bedroom in the home," Sheriff Ray said.

Maples then allegedly opened fire on Clemente and his own wife, Heather. After the shooting, he called the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department and turned himself in.

Albritton was at work when she got the news.

"I went into the bathroom and just cried and cried and cried and just couldn't believe it!" she said.

Albritton says Heather and Larry were just married in November.

She said, "When we went over they seemed like a very loving happy couple."

Albritton also knows "Mo" Clemente personally. She says he dated Heather for at least two years before she married Larry. Other friends of Heather's say they dated for as long as 4 years.

"She was married practically a month and a half later," Albritton said. "So I think maybe she still had feelings for Mo."

However, Albritton didn't think the two were still in contact.

"My understanding is that they weren't talking to each other. I don't know if it was one time, maybe he called her and things happened," she said.

She says no matter what Heather did, she never deserved this.

"She really was a good person and a great lady and it's just a tragedy," Albritton said.

Albritton is praying for the four children Heather leaves behind.

Moses Clemente had one gunshot wound in the abdomen and was taken to Mother Frances Hospital, where Sheriff Ray says he is expected to make a full recovery.

Larry Maples is being charged with capitol murder for breaking and entering, aggravated assault for shooting Clemente, and for the murder of his wife.


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