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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Oregon woman charged in fatal stabbing of husband at veterans’ home in The Dalles

This is so crazy!  I was in The Dalles and had been visiting my step-grandfather at the Oregon Veteran’s Home that day.  My grams and I stopped by for lunch earlier.  Normally we visit at dinner time, but that day we had other dinner plans so we went at lunch time instead.  Otherwise we might have been there during the attack and when OVH went on lockdown.  

The Dalles is this small, cute town on the Columbia Gorge.  So small, the few street lights they have blink yellow all day on Sunday’s lol.  This is normally a sweet, quiet town, where almost everyone knows each other.  This is so shocking and devastating!  Unfortunately, we didn't know this couple as they are originally from Happy Valley and the husband resided in D Wing, which is the Dementia Wing.  OVH isn't huge, but most residents stay in their wing of the hospital, although they do have free range of the facility.  I used to work at OVH and I am so stunned that this would happen there.  Very sad story!  And as far as I know, the motive still hasn't been determined.

Here is a clip from the article in The Register Guard Newspaper:

PORTLAND — An Oregon woman fatally stabbed her husband during a visit to the veterans’ home where he had been living, the authorities said.

Esther Wilkerson, 70, of Happy Valley, made an initial court appearance Monday on charges of murder and unlawful use of a weapon. Her husband, 67-year-old James Wilkerson, was killed Sunday at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles, where patients receive 24-hour, long-term skilled nursing and rehabilitative care.

The 4-foot-9, 80-pound defendant was being held without bail at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility in The Dalles. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 26. The lawyer assigned to represent her, Jack Morris, is out of the office until Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Police Chief Jay Waterbury said the Wilkersons had been married for 40 years and investigators were still trying to determine a motive.

Workers at the home called police at 4:10 p.m., Waterbury said. The victim lived in a double room; the other half was unoccupied at the time.

Police recovered a fillet knife that Waterbury described as having a roughly 6-inch blade.

James Wilkerson served more than 20 years in the Navy and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He had lived at the home for nearly two years, the chief said.

Prosecutor Leslie Wolf described the killing in court documents as an act of domestic violence. Wolf wrote that Esther Wilkerson “had reason to know of the particular vulnerability of James Wilkerson by reason of his physical disability and diminished mental capacity.”

Check out the full story here:

Also, this story is featured in People, and provides a picture of the suspect:

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