Son says deaths were a mercy killing
Friday, January 20th
By PAM SCHEHL
News Staff Reporter
JOHNSTOWN — The Monroe Township Fire Department and the Johnstown Police Department were called to a tragic scene Friday afternoon when 70-year-old Clover Walls and her husband Wallace Walls, 74, were found shot to death in their home at 90 Maple St.
“I lost my mom and dad today,” said the victims’ youngest son, James Walls. “This was a mercy killing. It was not murder. It was not murder-suicide. It was mercy killing,” he insisted.
Walls explained: “Two months ago my mother had a stroke. We didn’t know she had a stroke. Dad was in touch with the family. After a couple of days of Mom lying in bed and sick, we decided we needed to get her to a doctor. So Dad took her up to the practitioner who sent her to St. Ann’s just a couple of days before Thanksgiving. It took a few days, but once she was there they diagnosed that she had had a stroke. She was at St. Ann’s for a couple days, then they transferred her to Riverside where they are better equipped to take care of these things.
“Once they were satisfied that the brain was not bleeding any more and she was stable, they decided that she needed to be put into a nursing home. Her throat was paralyzed. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t eat. Humana made an executive decision that her progress didn’t justify keeping her in the nursing home. So, Dad said he would take the commitment; this is his wife, he will take care of her. She just came home this past Monday.”
James said Clover had been prescribed anti-depressants which caused her to suffer severe anxiety and hypertension.
“She went seven days without sleeping and so did my father,” said Walls. “Well, it was too much for him. Dad left a note saying, ‘I loved your mother too much, boys. I’m sorry.’ He laid her down at the back door and shot her in the head. Then he laid down beside her and shot himself. He used a handgun.”
The bodies were discovered by a daughter-in-law, Walls told the News.
“She works at the nursing home uptown, and she’s been stopping in on her lunch break to see how everybody is. This afternoon she stopped in, opened the back door and found the bodies lying on the floor,” Walls said.
Besides James and his two brothers, the couple left behind six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Speaking of the tragedy and what he felt was an apparent lack of compassion and caring shown by the health insurance company, James said, “I’m losing faith in my country.”
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