Family of 77-year-old woman accused of killing husband says she suffered dementia, abuse

Fredricka Rosa
Burlington County Prosecutor's Office
Fredricka Rosa
Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

(CBS/AP) PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. - The family of a 77-year-old New Jersey woman accused in her husband's murder says she suffers from dementia.

Fredricka Rosa of Pemberton Township is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 79-year-old Valpa Rosa Sr.

The New Jersey Star Ledger reports Fredricka allegedly shot her husband in the head and neck with a .357 magnum revolver on July 19.

In an interview with NBC Philadelphia, Rosa's children said their mother had suffered years of domestic abuse from her husband.

"He drove her insane," daughter Rosetta Rosa reportedly said. "He drove her to the point where she picked up the gun and shot him."

Police found Valpa Rosa's body in July after being called to the home by a family member, who had been contacted by Fredricka, but prosecutors say the elderly man had already been dead for two days. The children told NBC Philadelphia that their mother suffers from Alzheimer disease and dementia, which is the reason it took so long for her to report the death.

According to the Burlington County Times, family members said that in the two days after Valpa Rosa's death, his wife continued to prepare meals, even tried checking on him when he didn't show up for dinner.

According to the Star-Ledger, police said they found the gun used to kill Valpa Rosa in the home.

Fredricka Rosa is reportedly free on $150,000 bail.