LORAIN — Halyna Whitney never got to use the U-Haul pickup parked in the driveway outside her home.
Whitney, 29, was found dead around 4:10 p.m. Sunday in her home at 221 E. 30th St. along with her husband, Shone Whitney, 31, and William Everett Jr., 33, in an apparent double-homicide and suicide. Police Lt. Roger Watkins said officers were called to the home by Halyna Whitney’s father, who was unable to reach his daughter by phone Saturday. The father entered the home Sunday before calling police.
Watkins said the Whitneys and Everett were found in an upstairs bedroom. Neighbors Connie and Ernie Rios said the approximately 7-year-old daughter of Halyna Whitney and her infant son were removed from the home by police officers minutes after officers arrived.
Watkins said a temporary protection order Halyna Whitney had against Shone Whitney had been dropped in February. However, neighbor Spring Thacker said Halyna Whitney remained scared of her husband.
“He’s crazy,” said Thacker, who said she had known Halyna Whitney for about a year. “He’s threatened to kill her so many times.”
Shone Whitney was charged with domestic violence in October 2011, but a grand jury wouldn’t indict him, according to court records. On Feb. 19, Shone Whitney was convicted of disorderly conduct in connection with a Feb. 4 incident. The Rioses said they saw him face down in the street outside the home being handcuffed by an officer around the time he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
The Rioses said Shone Whitney had visited the home recently to make what they assumed were custodial visits with the children. They said he usually parked his Kraft Power Corp. truck in the driveway or in the lot next to the house, and they hadn’t seen the truck when they went to bed late Saturday night. On Sunday, the truck was parked two houses from the home, which is at the corner of Elyria Avenue.
Around 5 p.m. Sunday, a relative whom Thacker identified as Halyna Whitney’s brother, arrived at the scene and became hysterical. “Oh, God!” he screamed as Halyna Whitney’s father hugged him.
Halyna Whitney’s daughter and son were wrapped in blankets and hugged by relatives outside the home, which police cordoned off with crime scene tape. The girl cried at one point.
The Rioses said they frequently saw Halyna Whitney putting her daughter on a school bus in the morning and meeting her at the bus stop in the afternoon. Thacker described herself as Whitney’s best friend and said Whitney was a stay-at-home mother.
Thacker described Halyna Whitney as kind and supportive. Thacker said she paid for Thacker’s son’s 7th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese when Thacker couldn’t afford it.
Neighbors described the Whitneys as quiet, but Thacker said the relationship was volatile. Thacker that Shone Whitney had guns, and the February incident was over Halyna Whitney’s refusal to give him keys to a gun box. Thacker, who said Everett was Halyna Whitney’s boyfriend, said Whitney had agreed to her husband’s demand that she move out by May 1.
“He said, ‘(Expletive) you’ll move, or I’ll kill you,’” Thacker said. “She said she was scared. She (said she) knows if he had the opportunity to kill her, he’ll take it and that she has done everything he has asked of her, but he keeps nagging her even though it’s not May 1st yet.”
Virginia Beckman, executive director of Genesis House, a domestic violence shelter, said she couldn’t comment on specifics of the killings, but said courts can do more to reduce domestic violence homicides. There are about 16,800 domestic homicides nationally per year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and 33 women have been killed in domestic homicides in Lorain County since 1989, according to Genesis House.
Beckman said “lethality assessments” by court-appointed representatives of domestic violence suspects should be mandatory. She said possession of guns by suspects or incidents of public domestic violence should be red flags to police and prosecutors and there should be stricter sentencing for those convicted of domestic violence, including for first offenses.
“It’s a horrible tragedy,” Beckman said of Sunday’s killings. “We’re losing way too many lives in Lorain County to domestic homicides.”
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.