Man accused in wife's murder appears in court

A Mexico man was arrested this weekend during a homicide investigation.

Audrain Co. woman allegedly shot and killed by husband

MEXICO, Mo. - A Mexico man accused of killing his wife appeared in Audrain Co. court via video for arraignment Tuesday.

Harding yelled, "I didn't kill my wife," and "I love her," multiple times during the video appearance.

When the judge asked if he needed a lawyer he said, "I need a public defender because my wife accidentally shot herself."

Ricky Harding, Jr., 34, is charged with second degree murder, domestic assault, armed criminal action and endangering the welfare of a child.

Harding was arrested after the death of Summer Hickman at Harding's home in the 15000 block of Audrain Road 923.

Sources told ABC 17 News that Ricky Harding and Summer Hickman were married.

On Facebook, Summer does go by Summer Harding.

According to court documents, the oldest of Hickman's four children, a 12-year-old girl, told police the couple was arguing and struggling for a gun during a fight.

One round was shot off during the struggle, hitting Hickman in the pelvic area. 

Those documents allege Harding dragged Hickman to the garage and drove away in a vehicle without calling 911, leaving Hickman to bleed to death with the four children at home.

Harding was taken to Audrain Medical Center where she was pronounced dead about an hour after the shooting.

Friends of the couple told ABC 17 News the two's relationship was filled domestic abuse.

ABC 17 News talked with Harding's ex wife Tuesday who told us he was anything but a good man and constantly abused her.

An autopsy on Hickman was completed Tuesday. The Boone County Medical Examiner's office was not able to release the results of the autopsy Tuesday night since it is under Audrain County's jurisdiction.

Stay with ABC 17 News and for updates on this developing story.

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