The woman accused of shooting to death a former Medford police officer voluntarily turned in the alledged weapon to police this summer following a domestic dispute and had it returned to her eight days later.

The woman accused of shooting to death a former Medford police officer voluntarily turned in the alledged weapon to police this summer following a domestic dispute and had it returned to her eight days later.

Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said it is not uncommon for police to hold guns for safekeeping during heated arguments between couples.

In August, Medford police said, they were called to the Delta Waters Road home of Ray Glen Leach, 61, after his girlfriend, Charlene Leuzetia Meixner, 45, said he was keeping her from leaving the home during a breakup of their relationship.

"She was trying to move her things out," Medford police Sgt. Scott Clauson said. "We were called by her and stood by while she got her things. It's a service we provide a lot."

As the officers were standing by, they learned Meixner had a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. The officers asked if they could hold on to the gun while the couple were in a dispute and Meixner willingly handed it over, police said.

"When we take a gun for safekeeping, we perform a lot of checks on it such as if it is stolen, if the owner has pending criminal cases and a long list of other things," Budreau said. "If everything checks out, we turn it back over to the owner."

In this case Meixner had the gun returned to her eight days later. The same gun allegedly was used last week to kill Leach during a dispute at his house.

Police officer had no legal recourse to hold the gun after performing the background checks, Budreau said.

"If it checks out we have no right to retain (the gun) any longer," Budreau said.

Meixner called police at about 8 p.m. Oct. 20 to say that Leach had been shot in the chest inside his home. Investigators have not named a motive in the shooting, but have said the couple were in the process of breaking up when the shooting occurred.

Meixner faces a first-degree manslaughter charge which, under Oregon law, alleges that she killed Leach by acting recklessly while showing extreme indifference to the value of human life or that she was under extreme emotional disturbance at the time.

Other than the August call, Clauson said he has not seen any evidence the couple called police to assist during disputes between them.

"I could not find a history of domestic disputes involving these two," he said.

Leach was a former Medford police detective who resigned from the force in 2002 after he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for drunken driving when his car smashed into a parked Medford police cruiser.

A preliminary hearing in the manslaughter case is scheduled Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court, records show.

Meixner remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $1 million bail.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.