The wife of a Tatamagouche-area man accused of killing his neighbour is calling the murder a “true tragedy” and says she is “devastated” by the events.

Ernie “Junior” Duggan is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Susie Butlin, who was found dead Sunday night. He’s also facing a charge of attempted murder following a stand-off with police.

Duggan’s wife, April Dawn Duggan, took to social media Wednesday, writing, "We are devastated beyond words for the loss of our friend and neighbour, as well as the loss of the person I've spent 25 years with.  …  I am so so sorry this was the end result.”

“I feel it could have been different and I really pray changes are made in the future. I do not want to see other families deal with something so tragic. Our hearts are broken for everyone affected.”

Forensic investigators spent much of Wednesday combing Butlin’s and Duggan’s homes.

Just six weeks earlier, Butlin complained to the police about her neighbour. She alleged he exposed himself to her and later vandalized her swimming pool. According to a court order issued Sept. 13, Duggan was not allowed to contact Butlin.

Susie Butlin was well-known in the Tatamagouche area. She is described as a mother and grandmother who was very close with her family. The alleged circumstances around her death have shocked the entire community.

Jayne Holmes and Butlin were friends and coworkers. She says Butlin owned a real estate business, and she will be remembered for her outgoing spirit.

“She was the life of the party. Very bubbly,” says Holmes. “She had a smile for everyone who came through the door.”

Police say during the stand-off, Duggan was shot and taken to hospital. His case is scheduled for Truro court Thursday morning.

It's not clear whether he'll be able to attend in person.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl.