A Tennessee woman is facing a reckless homicide charge after her husband was found dead and bound during an apparent bondage session gone wrong.
Authorities in Maury County responded to an emergency call Saturday afternoon about a dead man inside a Columbia trailer.
There, they discovered the body of 29-year-old James Bargy in panty hose with his arms and legs bound, a gag ball stuffed in his mouth -- which had been covered in duct tape -- and his head wrapped. The only opening for air were slits for his nostrils, according to Maury County Sheriff's Office detectives.
An autopsy found that Bargy died of asphyxiation.
Rebecca Bargy, 25, was arrested and charged with reckless homicide in her husband's death Saturday night. Authorities say she left her husband in the bonded state for more than 20 hours before she returned to their trailer to find him dead.
She was arraigned Monday and remained in jail pending a bond hearing today. With no previous criminal record, Bargy could face four years in prison if convicted.
Maury County prosecutor Michael Bottoms, who acknowledged the unusual nature of the case, told ABC News that his office might consider more serious charges as the investigation continued. "We're considering other evidence in the case, and [the charge] may or may not change," he said.
But Rebecca Bargy and Sam Patterson, her attorney, claimed that James Bargy's death was a tragic accident that occurred during fetish behavior the couple often participated in together.
Mother-in-Law's Call to Police
She told police that she tied her husband up and left him Friday to meet another man at a local motel for the night. When she returned from the overnight date Saturday, she found her husband was dead and went next door to her mother's house. Her mother, Mona Phillips, made the 911 call to police.
"He's dead," a frantic Phillips told the dispatcher, according to a 911 recording obtained by ABC News' Nashville affiliate WKRN.
The dispatcher asks incredulously, "OK, your daughter has tied your husband up, ma'am?"
"He's weird," Mona Phillips told the dispatcher at one point.
"He's weird? Was this a sexual thing, or is this an attempt of suicide," the dispatcher asked before Phillips cut her off, saying she did not know exactly what happened.
According to Rebecca Bargy's attorney, bondage was very sexual for her husband. "He was into bondage and he was into that type of thing," Patterson told ABC News. "He always got himself untied in the past. Unfortunately, this time he couldn't get untied in time."
Patterson said that the charges against his client could be downgraded to criminally negligent homicide, which carries a lesser penalty than reckless homicide. But Patterson said that proof will show this was an accident and his client should not be held responsible.
"She assumed that he would get free like he had 100 times in the past," Patterson said.
But James Bargy's family members do not all feel the same way. Lisa Brady, identified as James Bargy's sister, said there is much more to the story, describing a marriage in trouble that may have provoked the death.
"What kind of person does that, leaves someone for so long without checking on them?" Brady told WTVF in Nashville. "Who could do that?"
Susan Wright, a spokesperson for the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom, said that Rebecca Bargy did not likely mean to kill her husband, but that she broke a basic bondage rule of thumb.
Bondage Rule of Thumb Broken
"You never, ever leave someone alone when they're in bondage," Wright said. "For safety reasons, if someone's in bondage, you have to be there to observe them and make sure there are no complications."
Wright likened responsible bondage to sky diving and rock climbing -- both activities that are not smart to do solo. She said that typically, couples involved in the fetish establish safewords that are used when someone becomes uncomfortable.
"You don't just up and leave someone because accidents happen," she said. "These are sex games. People are just supposed to be having fun."