Elizabeth “Betsy” Wall, a grandmother from Powder Springs, Georgia, who is accused of murdering her daughter-in-law in front of her grandchildren last month, apparently researched guns and shootings two months prior to the killing.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Wall, 63, appeared in a Cobb County courtroom on Friday, where Detective Shawn Murphy testified that the grandmother of two young boys, ages 7 and 8, used her cellphone to research stories on killing family members, along information on wrongful death cases.
“In her web searches on the cell phone on April 19, she had researched several articles regarding someone killing their family and themselves. She researched wrongful death lawsuits, as well.”
On June 23, Wall allegedly drove to her daughter-in-law, Jenna Wall’s, home, and after she instructed her two grandsons to wait outside in her truck, she went inside the home and shot her daughter-in-law, fatally wounding her. Jenny Wall was in the middle of an apparent nasty divorce with husband, Jerrod Wall, an investigator with the Paulding County District Attorney’s Office.
Betsy Wall called her son after she reportedly killed Jenny Wall, and said she was contemplating killing herself. She told him she was “at Jenna’s house” and he needed to come get the children.
When Jerrod Wall arrived to the house, a home in Powder Springs that his wife shared with their sons and her parents, he found his mother sitting in the living room with a gun in her lap. Murphy testified that she claimed she wanted to die and to be left alone.
“After probably a half hour of speaking with her, she made a few statements saying, ‘Just leave me alone. Let me die. I want a lawyer. He’ll let me die.”
Jimmy Berry, the grandmother’s lawyer, said that his client spent time in a mental health facility prior to the shooting. He acknowledged that she was guilty of shooting Jenna Wall, but he painted a picture of a mentally unstable woman who had never been in any legal trouble before.
“There’s no question about who did it. In this case, it’s why it was done. What was her mental state at the time it was done? It’s a sad thing for both families. She’d never been in any kind of trouble before. Here’s a woman that appeared to love everybody, loved the grandkids, loved her children. It’s just very sad that this happened.”
WSB-TV Atlanta reports that Jerrod and Jenna Wall’s relationship was tumultuous at best during Jenna’s final months. According to court documents, Jerrod Wall was fighting for full custody of his sons, and claimed that not only was his wife keeping his children from him, but also bringing them around her boyfriend, a high school teacher.
The relationship spilled over to social media, where Jenna Wall and Betsy Wall got into heated arguments, so much so that Jenna eventually disabled her Facebook page.
“Jenna had posted basically a picture of a quote that says, ‘If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would know the magnitude of the battle you are fighting,’ and in a response to that, (Betsy wrote), ‘The magnitude of the battle to come is far beyond your comprehension.'”
On Friday, Berry told the judge that Betsy Wall’s state of mind was so fragile that she feared she would either cause a scene or pass out. Subsequently, during the hearing, she faced a corner in the courtroom, shielding herself from her family, the victim’s family, and a television camera.
So far, the Georgia grandmother hasn’t explained why she shot her daughter-in-law or acknowledged the impact she may have left on her grandchildren, even after being questioned numerous times by police. She’s charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, third-degree cruelty to children, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.
[Photo by Cobb County Sheriff’s Department]