x
Breaking News
More () »

'She was a very good person' | Friends attend hearing for Cypress man accused of wife's murder

Prosecutors say Yuan Hua Liang was wearing a sleeping mask when she was shot in the forehead, allegedly by her 41-year-old husband Christopher Collins.

HOUSTON — The husband of a woman found dead inside their Cypress home faced a judge for the first time Monday, days after he was charged with her murder.

After hearing from both sides, a judge decided the bond for 41-year-old Christopher Collins will remain at $150,000. 

During the hearing, prosecutors said Collins shot Yuan Hua Liang, 46, in the forehead at the couple's home in the 18000 block of Clayton Bluff Lane on Nov. 18. She was wearing a sleeping mask at the time and was found with a bag placed over her head. 

Prosecutors said the couple had signed a $250,000 life insurance policy two days before Liang was killed. Collins went to "great lengths" to convince investigators his wife was killed by intruders, according to court documents. 

RELATED: Couple signed $250,000 life insurance policy before wife was killed at Cypress home, court documents say

Friends who attended the hearing described the woman they called "Kiki" as "a very good person."

"We're very sorry for her. We don't know what happened, but it's terrible," one friend said outside the courtroom. "She helped me a lot so I'm really so upset."

Yan Zhou, another friend, said the couple married in the U.S. in 2007. Zhou said she met Christopher when they visited China the following year.

Zhou later moved to Houston and said she shared many good memories with Liang and Collins. The friends were all shocked by her death.

"I need to find out the truth," Zhou said.

'Possible intruders'

Harris County Sheriff's Office said Collins called them around 3:15 p.m. on the day of the murder and requested a welfare check for his wife.

Collins told officers his wife was worried about possible intruders inside the home. He reportedly became worried when she stopped responding to his calls and text messages.

RELATED: HCSO: Husband finds wife dead in their Cypress home after she called him about a trespasser

According to authorities, Collins met an officer at the house about 5 p.m. where he opened the door for them.

According to court documents, Collins paused momentarily in the doorway, dropped his bags and ran into the living room where Liang was found lying on the floor with visible blood on her shirt and a bag covering her head.

The evidence

An autopsy concluded the cloth bag was placed over the Liang after her death, according to court documents. Medical examiners believe the bullet was fired from either a 22 or 25 caliber weapon.

RELATED: Resources for victims of domestic or family violence

Investigators said there were no signs of a break-in, the home was not ransacked and several high-value items were untouched. They also noted that officers counted four dogs in the couple's backyard.

According to deputies, a neighbor reported hearing an argument coming from the direction of the home earlier that day.

According to investigators, Collins said he had returned home from a restaurant earlier after forgetting his wallet. He told officers Liang met him in the driveway and gave it to him. He claimed to have then left for the gym.

Collins allegedly said he was on the phone with his brother when he missed several messages from his wife, claiming someone was outside their residence. He said he texted her back to see if she was OK, but she didn't respond.

He claims he continued driving to the gym, where he stayed for about 45 minutes. At that time, Collins said he tried reaching his wife at least 10 times but she didn't answer.

That's when he called the police at the non-emergency number.

'It was probably nothing'

Officers asked Collins about surveillance cameras at the house and were told there was no recording, only a live feed. Collins said he would use the cameras to check on his wife when was working out of the country.

Court records said Collins didn't check the cameras the day of his wife's death.

When asked why he didn't come home immediately, according to court documents, Collins told officers his wife tended to be paranoid. Prosecutors said the 911 call revealed Collins told dispatchers "it was probably nothing."

Prosecutors said deputies asked if there was a gun inside the home. Collins reportedly said his wife had bought him a 9mm pistol but he didn't have ammunition.

Officers said they later found a 22mm cartridge inside Collins' pocket.

Help for victims of domestic violence 

Domestic and family violence cases in the Houston area have increased at an alarming rate. Victims often suffer in silence because they feel scared, helpless or ashamed. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are some discreet ways to reach out for help.

The Houston Area Women’s Center has a 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence at 713-528-2121 or 1-800-256-0551.

The Family Time Crisis Center can also be reached 24-hours a day at 281-446-2615.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741.

Or text LOVEIS to 22522.

KHOU 11 on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube