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Shooting of estranged husband self-defense
(2 reports)

Originally ran here - (Pay to view story) as:
"LaPorte shooting may have been self-defense"
By Stan Maddux
South Bend Tribune
April 10, 2002

LAPORTE, INDIANA -- A LaPorte area woman will not be charged in the death of her estranged husband if an ongoing probe keeps indicating the shooting was self-defense.

"There's nothing that would indicate so far that she has violated any laws," LaPorte County Police Chief of Detectives Dick Buell said.

According to police, Walter Walker, 54, broke into a home his estranged wife was occupying in the 6300 block of Joliet Road about six miles west of LaPorte about 6 a.m. Sunday.

Wanna Jo Walker, 56, barricaded herself inside an upstairs bedroom after hearing glass break and grabbed a handgun.

Walter Walker smashed out a window and crawled through the opening, police said.

He then went upstairs and forced open a bedroom door, which had a heavy wood chest behind it.

Buell would not disclose the chain of the events that occurred next but said, "shortly thereafter he was shot."

Walter Walker, who was found lying on a bed, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities did not disclose where Walker was shot and how many times.

The couple, who had a history of domestic violence, were separated and in the process of divorcing, police said.

Shooting of estranged husband self-defense (Update)

Originally ran here as:
"Man's dying words keeps wife who shot him free"
By Stan Maddux
April 20, 2002

LaPORTE, INDIANA -- Walter Walker knew he was dying. His wife, Wanna Jo, knew it, too.

She had shot him twice and he lay sprawled across her, pinning her to the bedroom floor.

Their final conversation -- captured on voice mail left on her daughter's phone in the last 30 seconds of a brutal encounter on April 7 -- helped authorities decide Friday not to press charges.

"Let me get help. Please. I'm sorry. I don't want you to die," she said.

"Yeah, you do," Walter Walker said.

That was enough for LaPorte County Prosecutor Rob Beckman.

"There was no evidence to indicate anything else but self defense," Beckman said.

On April 7, Wanna Jo Walker shot 54-year-old Walter Walker inside the marital home she occupied in the 6300 block of Joliet Road about six miles west of LaPorte.

They were divorcing.

Around 6 a.m., he broke out a window and crawled through jagged pieces of glass in the frame. He was severely cut and his blue jeans were shredded.

Wanna Jo Walker, 56, heard the glass break from an upstairs bedroom.

She immediately suspected her estranged husband because of the couple's violent past, Beckman said.

Wanna Jo Walker placed a heavy chest behind her bedroom door, which she locked, grabbed an antique .32-caliber handgun and huddled in a corner, Beckman said.

After he broke open the bedroom door, Wanna Jo Walker told him, "Don't come near me or I'll have to shoot you," said Beckman.

However, Walter Walker moved toward her and was shot once in the leg.

He then threw her onto the floor.

She warned him a second time, but he put her into a bear hug.

That's when Wanna Jo Walker put the barrel of the gun against his side and fired another shot, Beckman said.

A struggle for the handgun followed but as Walker grew weak, he gave up and laid on top of her, refusing to get off.

At some point, she grabbed a cellular telephone and dialed her daughter's residence in Wisconsin, Beckman said.

She got an answering machine which captured the final 30 seconds of the ordeal, including Mr. Walker's final words.

According to a transcript of the recording, Walker kept her pinned to the floor and stated he was dying and wanted to die.

She apologized for shooting him and that she didn't want him to die.

She also kept asking him to get off so she could get help.

Eventually, she rolled him off and ran to a neighbor's house.

When police arrived, Walker was dead on the bedroom floor.

He had been accused of violent, abusive conduct in the last days of their relationship

She had received a court restraining order and still had several bruises from being attacked two weeks earlier, Beckman said.

"She was extremely fearful what was going to happen to her if she had not acted the way she acted," Beckman said.

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