2007_12_fdnyfuneral.jpgThe prime suspect in the murder of an FDNY fire marshal – his wife – may have instructed her children to wear earplugs in the hours before the slaying. According to the Daily News, investigators found two earplugs in the bedroom Janet Mercereau shared with her kids (the marriage was on the rocks). If prosecutors prove that Mercereau had given the children earplugs to keep them from waking up during the shooting, it will mean the murder was premeditated rather than a crime of passion, carrying a greater criminal charge.

Mercereau has yet to be charged in the murder, which took place at approximately 6:30am Sunday morning, December 2nd. The fire marshal, Douglas Mercereau, was shot in his sleep and again after he woke up and staggered into the living room. At 8:25am, his wife called 911; she claims to have slept through the murder in the other bedroom with her two daughters, ages 5 and 6. And when the police inquired about the blood under her fingers she… well, let’s not start the morning off on the wrong foot. If you must know, her explanation is here, third paragraph down. According to the Daily News:

Detectives believe she used the two hours between the shooting and the 911 call to clean up the scene, put a blanket over her husband's head and place the murder weapon – the marshal's service revolver – back on a shelf. She also sent away a day laborer who showed up at the Oakwood house to work before she called 911, another law enforcement source said. "If she was asleep like she says, how could she be telling this guy there wouldn't be work that day?" the source said.

Mercereau’s lawyer is pointing the finger at a second laborer who was helping renovate the Staten Island home, saying this man “was very disgruntled” after Douglas Mercereau fired him days before his death; detectives do not consider any of the workers to be suspects.