APEX, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say a married couple had argued before the wife was fatally shot.

The News & Observer reports that 44-year-old Michael Anthony Maher is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 24 death of 28-year-old Nadia Amaadar Maher. A search warrant application was made public Monday.

Michael Maher initially told investigators he accidentally shot his wife while checking the safety on a gun, but investigators discovered signs of a struggle. An autopsy report showed Nadia Maher had bruises all over her body and scratches on her hand. The search warrant says Michael Maher had visible scratches on his chest and wrist.

Police learned Michael Maher has pending domestic violence charges in Louisiana.

He asked for a lawyer and declined to make further statements after his initial one.

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Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com