The husband accused of killing his wife who was the popular owner of a Pompano Beach bar was ordered held without bond Wednesday, as the woman's sister spoke out for the first time.
Patrick Palmer, 51, appeared in court to face a first-degree murder charge in the killing of 63-year-old Sherry Palmer. His defense attorney, who requested a bond be set, said his daughter attended the hearing to support him.
Also at the hearing was Sherry Palmer's sister, who spoke out for the first time since the killing of the owner of Chit Chat's bar on North Federal Highway.
"She was my everything and she's gone," sister Micki McCarthy said after the hearing. She said she was there "to be strong for her, to honor her and to let her know that she will be heard."
Broward Sheriff's Office officials said they believe Patrick Palmer engaged in an elaborate cover-up after his wife's death in an attempt to make her family and friends believe she was still alive.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots the night of April 14, and after friends couldn't reach Sherry Palmer, deputies went to the couple's Pompano Beach home to do a welfare check three days later, on April 17.
Deputies found Sherry Palmer's decomposed body in the home's backyard wrapped in several tarps. Near the body were a pickaxe and shovel near what appeared to be a shallow grave, officials said.
She had been shot twice in the head, officials said.
Her husband was found unconscious and bloody in a bed with a boxcutter on the floor nearby, according to an arrest affidavit. He also had injuries to his arms and was hospitalized before he was arrested and booked into jail.
The lacerations on his wrist appeared to be self-inflicted, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said Patrick Palmer called one friend or family member and said Sherry's phone was broken and he was taking her to an Apple store to get it fixed. Other friends or family members said they tried to reach Sherry but would receive text messages they suspected weren't written by her, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Patrick Palmer told detectives he had relapsed and was using cocaine for the past six months. He said he was smoking a lot of cocaine, using prescription medication and drinking the morning of April 13 when he and his wife got into an argument over his drug use, the report said.
He said he could only remember a "bang" going off and said he went to sleep, the report said. When he was asked if he shot his wife, he replied "I don't think so," the affidavit said.
Patrick Palmer said he couldn't find his wife so he began to call and text people to look for her, the affidavit said.
"At that point I figured she was mad or whatever and was going to leave me, so I just planned on smoking myself to death," he said, according to the affidavit.
Friends said the couple had been together for about 20 years and that Patrick Palmer was a chef at Chit Chat's, which was owned by his wife.
"It's a tragedy and the outpouring of love, I appreciate it so much, and I'm hurting for her friends and her Chit Chat family who loved her so much and I know they're hurting and I want them to know my heart's with them," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said she had "no comment" for Patrick Palmer.
"All of us are just going to do whatever we can to honor Sherry, that's the most important thing right now," she said.