Trial continues for retired Air Force major who shot estranged wife, father-in-law

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The ex-wife of a retired Air Force major testified in court, Tuesday, about the night that her estranged husband shot her and her father at her Coral Springs apartment.

Katherine Ranta sobbed on the witness stand in Broward Circuit Court as prosecutors played the 911 call from the night her ex-husband, retired Air Force Major Thomas Maffei, opened fire at her apartment.

Ranta called 911 on Nov. 2, 2012 when Maffei came to the door of her Coral Springs apartment, demanding to see their 4-year-old son. Ranta was inside with their son and her father.

“This is the door,” Ranta said, holding her hands in front of her on the witness stand, “I was on the this side pushing like this. The handle was here, and my dad was here, pushing and trying to lock the door.”

Her 4-year-old son stood directly behind her that night, when Maffei fired his weapon.

“Booms came through the door,” Ranta said. “A bullet went directly through it, and it exploded.”

The bullets struck Ranta twice, and also hit her father. Both survived the shooting.

“I was screaming and begging for my life,” Ranta said. “I was saying I would return his stuff. I was saying I was sorry, ‘Please don’t do this.’ I was crawling on the floor in my own blood.”

Maffei claims PTSD and prescription drugs sent him into a rage and caused him to shoot at his then-wife and father-in-law that night. He said he went to the Veterans Affairs clinic earlier that day, where they gave him Oxycodone and a tranquilizer.

However, prosecutors said, he planned the shooting, even Googling it.

“Just to be clear,” a prosecutor asked a detective, “from the defendant’s cellphone and his browser history, which would be before this incident, he had searched articles about how to kill your wife and husband shoots wife. Things like that?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Coral Springs Police Detective Chris Collins said.

Maffei is charged with attempted first-degree murder. The defense will begin presenting their case on Wednesday morning.

If convicted, Maffei faces life behind bars.

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