Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Butler Township, PA: Investigation continues in Butler Twp. murder-suicide

It will take weeks before investigators will be able to confidently say what events led to the murder-suicide deaths of a Butler Township husband and wife.

Township police Chief David Pavelko said his department continues to investigate the crime involving John Walton, 51, and Stacy Walton, 41. Both were found deceased Monday morning in their home at 470 E. Butler Drive, next to Hi-Tor East Terrace.

Pavelko said further testing is being done at a crime laboratory and because the results might not be available for weeks, it could take that much time for police to determine exactly what happened.

Acting Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman said each victim died of a single gunshot wound, but that he is unable to say who the murder victim was until further testing is completed.

"It's a lengthy process to gather the facts," Pavelko said of the investigation.

The couple were found by their son, John Jr., and Stacy's father, who went looking for them after it appeared they hadn't left their home in the Hi-Tor East development as expected Monday morning, Lisman said. Pavelko said the Waltons were found in the same room of the ranch-style home but declined to say which part of the home they were found in.

Pavelko said police have completed their investigation of the scene after spending hours at the home Monday. Officers initially were dispatched to the home at about 7:30 a.m. and remained there until about 6:30 p.m.

The Waltons were together since about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, but investigators were unsure when they died, Lisman said. Pavelko said earlier Monday that he did not believe anyone else was in the home Sunday night or Monday morning.

Stacy Walton was a well-respected elementary and middle school English as a second language teacher in the Hazleton Area School District, according to school officials. She worked at the Freeland, Drums, Arthur Street and Valley schools, and was employed by the district for 10 to 12 years, officials said.

John Walton was a local contractor specializing in paving.

According to Luzerne County Court records, John Walton filed for divorce Nov. 28. According to a county property database, the couple purchased their home in August 2009.

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