Poconos Coal

Police: Carbon County man who carried out murder-suicide had violent past

Girl inside house when murder-suicide happened, police said


BANKS TWP., Pa. - State Police say a Carbon County man with a history of domestic violence killed his wife, and then himself, as their young daughter sat in an upstairs bedroom. The murder-suicide happened in Junedale, just outside Hazleton, around 10:45 Friday night.

In pictures, Dee Wilkinson was all smiles. Behind closed doors, however, she and her longtime husband led a troubled life. It all came to an end when police say Billy Wilkinson murdered her with a 9 millimeter Glock handgun, then killed himself.

"I was devastated, but I had said prior that something like this was going to happen," said Maureen Steiner, who knew the couple for years.

Steiner and others remembered a long history of abuse.

"He shot her tire out, wouldn't let her leave. He burned her clothes," said Steiner. "Terrible thing. He needed anger management."

Dee Wilkinson filed for divorce last October. It came after her husband shot out her car tires in one case, shot her windows out in another, and broke two of her ribs in a third incident. A source close to the couple said they reconciled last month and moved back in with each other.

"You don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and that's the frightening part," said the victim's longtime friend, Maria Zullo.

As if this story wasn't tragic enough, it gets even worse. Family friends said the couple's 10 year-old daughter actually called 911. She was in an upstairs bedroom.

"From what I heard, Dee told her to run upstairs and call 911," said Zullo.

Relatives are taking care of the couple's daughter.

Meantime, people in the tiny town of Junedale are asking if they could have done more to prevent this tragedy.

"I guess we all saw it coming and did nothing about it because they were always arguing," said neighbor Pauline Frye.

An autopsy will be conducted Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest, police said.

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