July 28, 2014

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Man suspected in double murder, suicide had history of domestic violence

LORAIN — Two young children, left without a mother and father, can be heard crying in the background of a 911 call after what police described as a domestic incident that resulted in a double-homicide and suicide.

“Mommy’s dead,” a child cries as a frantic Trina Smith calls for rescue crews Sunday.

Smith, who went to check on her daughter, Halyna Whitney, 28, at 221 E. 30th St. on Sunday, arrived at the house to find a chilling scene.

Listen to the 911 call:

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Halyna and her boyfriend, William Everett Jr., 33, had been shot dead in the bedroom of the home. Halyna’s husband, Shone Whitney, 31, was also dead.

Police said they believe Shone Whitney, who was separated from Halyna Whitney, broke in through a kitchen window and shot his wife and Everett. He then turned the gun on himself.

Smith and Halyna Whitney’s father found the three after they came from Cleveland to check on their daughter, from whom they hadn’t heard.

Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said autopsies have not been completed, but it appeared as if they all had been dead for about 12 hours. Investigators have estimated they were shot around 3 a.m.

The Whitneys’ children, a 1-year-old and a 7-year-old, were at the home during the alleged murders.

“She said her mommy wouldn’t wake up when we hit the door,” Smith told a 911 dispatcher Sunday.

Lorain police Detective Buddy Sivert said he does not believe the children witnessed their parents’ deaths. He said the children, who were in the custody of Halyna Whitney, are now in the care of family members.

Halyna Whitney, a stay-at-home mother, was in the process of moving out of the home, owned by her husband, Shone Whitney, according to Halyna Whitney’s friend and neighbor, Spring Thacker. Thacker described the couple’s relationship as volatile, and she said Shone Whitney had threatened to kill her if she didn’t move out.

“She told me Friday morning when she came over that she was going to go get another (restraining order),” she said.

Sivert said Halyna Whitney never called police, despite being involved in a domestic situation with Shone a few days prior to her death.

Sivert said Shone Whitney had reportedly punched a window out of one of the doors, but Halyna Whitney’s family diffused the situation by making him leave the area. The incident was never reported.

And while Halyna Whitney tried to keep Shone Whitney out of jail, police reports show that Shone Whitney had a history of being violent with his wife.

On Oct. 14, 2011, Shone Whitney was arrested after he tried to burn Halyna Whitney’s clothes.

Shone Whitney told police at the time that he “wanted to hit (Halyna Whitney)” after he said she cheated on him, but he took her clothes outside to burn them instead. He admitted he was undergoing anger management counseling.

Halyna Whitney’s friend Sarah Goode told police Shone Whitney shoved Halyna Whitney, who was 15 weeks pregnant, to the floor during the incident.

Officers arrested Shone Whitney, whom Halyna Whitney had locked inside a backyard fence, but she did not want to press charges. Police signed a protection order on her behalf.

On Feb. 4, Shone Whitney was again arrested and charged with domestic violence and resisting arrest after police said he confronted Halyna Whitney after he read text messages on her phone from another man, who she had programmed in her phone under a woman’s name.

She told police Shone Whitney then threatened her with a machete in his hand, and he threatened to choke her. Halyna Whitney said he had choked her in the past, but recanted it later, according to a police report.

She did not want to pursue charges for the incident, and she posted bail for him after he was arrested. A temporary protection order Halyna Whitney had against Shone Whitney was dropped in February, police said, and a grand jury wouldn’t indict him for the charges, according to court records.

Thacker, who has known Halyna Whitney for about a year, said Halyna Whitney was scared of her husband.

“He’s crazy. He threatened to kill her so many times,” Thacker said from the crime scene Sunday.

Sivert said several handguns were found in Shone Whitney’s home, but police are investigating who owned the weapons. He said it did not appear as if Halyna Whitney or Everett fought back against Shone Whitney.

“It’s tragic that it had to come to this,” he said.

Sivert said it’s important for someone involved in a domestic situation to call police so that the perpetrator is arrested. In domestic violence situations, the person who is arrested has time to “calm down” after his or her arrest, he said.

“I wish they would have called, because, if there was enough there … we could have maybe arrested him and prevented it from happening,” he said. “We take domestic violence very seriously.”

Sivert admitted, however, that there may be a danger after a domestic situation is reported.

“You got to remember that a protection order is just a piece of paper. If someone has the mindset to hurt or kill someone, that piece of paper won’t stop them,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.