911 caller says 'I shot her'

December 01, 1998

WidmyerBy DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - On the night Tara Widmyer was fatally shot while watching television in the living room of her Ranson duplex, a caller to the Jefferson County 911 emergency number identified himself as the assailant.

According to Ranson Police Lt. Robbie Roberts, the caller, who was using a cellular phone, told 911 dispatchers, "I shot her. Are you going to help her or not?"

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Police called the cell phone number later that night and received an answering service for "Trampas Widmyer," Roberts testified Monday in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.


Additional details surrounding Tara Widmyer's death and the shooting of her boyfriend came to light during a preliminary hearing for William Trampas Widmyer, Tara Widmyer's former husband, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting.

After the hearing, Magistrate Mary Paul Rissler ruled there was probable cause to bind Widmyer over for the next term of the Jefferson County grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, malicious assault and burglary.

Roberts testified that when he went to Tara Widmyer's duplex on the night of Nov. 16, he saw Larry Miller, Widmyer's boyfriend, crawling out the front door and yelling for help.

Tara Widmyer was found dead inside, wrapped in a quilt on a fold-out sofa, said Roberts.

Police believe Tara Widmyer, 25, of 107-B East Sixth Avenue, and Miller, 32, of Charles Town, were each shot at least twice when a gunman fired about five shots from a .32-caliber rifle through a front window.

Miller was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he is recovering from gunshot wounds, Roberts said.

Police spent the next two days looking for the gunman, who investigators believe stole two cars during the time period. A 1989 Dodge Dakota pickup truck that had been taken from the Bunker Hill area in Berkeley County was found at about 10 a.m. on Nov. 19 along Detour Road near Paw Paw in Morgan County, police said.

The next day, Widmyer turned himself in at the police department in Woodstock, Va., about 50 miles south of Jefferson County. He turned himself in to Woodstock authorities because he felt it would be safer, according to police.

After local police returned Widmyer to Jefferson County, they went to a cabin near Paw Paw and found a rifle they believe was used in the shooting.

The rifle was on a dining room table atop a note, said Roberts. The person who wrote the note said the gun was used to shoot his former wife and her boyfriend, and to notify police, said Roberts.

When police searched William Widmyer's car, they found a final divorce decree for Tara and William Widmyer, a letter from Tara Widmyer to William Widmyer and a Bible, according to Roberts.

The night of the shooting, Widmyer's 1985 Pontiac Firebird was found parked on Burns Street, several blocks north of Tara Widmyer's home.

The burglary charge against Widmyer stems from allegations that he broke into the duplex next to Tara Widmyer's. Police have said they believe he went into the duplex to stalk Tara Widmyer.

Widmyer later told police he "felt stupid for being in there, and left," Roberts testified.

Widmyer is being held without bond at the Eastern Regional Jail near Martinsburg.

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