A grand jury indicted Dianna Lalchan, 28, on charges of first-degree premeditated murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Lalchan was arrested and initially charged with second-degree murder, but a judge reduced that charge to voluntary manslaughter at a preliminary hearing. Lalchan has been staying with family under high supervision since May, when Judge Ronna Beck allowed her to leave a halfway house.
On Friday, Prosecutor Cynthia Wright said new evidence in the government’s case against Lalchan led to Thursday’s indictment. While Lalchan’s attorney, Arthur Ago, argued the killing was in self-defense, the prosecutor argued that not once during the couple’s five-year marriage did Dianna Lalchan call 911 or have restraining orders issued against her husband. There is also no record of an abuse case in D.C. Superior Court.
“This case is about money,” Wright said. “She didn’t want to pay alimony. The defendant chose money over everything else.”
On the night of Christopher Lalchan’s death, in the middle of an escalating argument, it was Lalchan who told her husband to go retrieve the gun and lay it on the table, Wright said.
According to forensic evidence, three shots were fired that night. “The first shot was fired into the kitchen,” Wright said. “The second shot was fired into the back of her husband’s head. The third shot was fired next to his head when he was on the ground.”
Wright argued that because Dianna Lalchan, a pharmacist at Walter Reed Medical Center, often went to the shooting range for recreational purposes, her precision in shooting would be quite good.
On March 28, at approximately 12:05 a.m., Lalchan called 911 and said, “I shot my husband,” inside their apartment in 1200 block of Fourth Street Southwest, according to charging documents.
The government requested a motion that Lalchan be held without bond. Judge Beck denied the motion because of her track record. “If you think she is a danger to the community, get your case ready for trial.”
Her trial is scheduled to begin March 5, 2014.