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Father says slaying suspect still felt for ex-wife

November 21, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The father of a man charged with fatally shooting his ex-wife said Friday that his son never got over his first love.

"They just didn't get along," said Vernon Widmyer, his voice breaking. "He must have just had a bad day that day."

William Trampas Widmyer, 28, is being held without bond in Eastern Regional Jail near Martinsburg, W.Va., on charges that he killed Tara Widmyer, 25, and wounded Larry Miller, 32, of Charles Town, W.Va., while the pair watched television Monday night in Tara Widmyer's Ranson, W.Va., home.

Vernon Widmyer said he spoke with Tara Widmyer's father, Robert Wilbourne, Thursday night at the funeral home. Widmyer said the pair cried together.


Wilbourne declined to comment Friday night, hours after his daughter was laid to rest in a Charles Town cemetery.

Vernon Widmyer said he was initially angry, hurt and embarrassed when he learned his son was suspected in the slaying. He now just wants to hug his son, Widmyer said.

"I just want to put my arms around him as a father," he said. "I want to try and get him help."

William Widmyer's youngest sister, Tammy Dunn, said her brother is a religious man who earned a Bible degree from a Florida theology school.

Reading a statement from Widmyer's mother, Ruth, Dunn said her parents were glad their son surrendered to police.

"We are glad Trampas had enough teaching to turn himself in," she said.

Widmyer eluded police for more than two days before turning himself in Thursday morning to police in Woodstock, Va. Widmyer was extradited to Charles Town, W.Va., where he was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder and malicious assault.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Wednesday at 10:25 a.m. in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

Ranson police said there is still a lot of work to do on the investigation.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Ranson Police Lt. Robbie Roberts.

Roberts said investigators must interview between 30 and 40 people and are still trying to secure evidence. Police have recovered three guns, including a .35-caliber rifle they believe was used in the shooting.

Ranson Police Chief William Roper said investigators believe the shootings resulted from a domestic problem and described Widmyer as an "obsessive ex-husband."

Roper said he lifted security measures on Miller Thursday.

Miller was listed in satisfactory condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he flown after the shooting.

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