Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Women Who Kill: Part Two

Killing Through Others II

On July 29, 1974, Walter and his wife, Carolyn, were ambushed. As they took a trip in their car, someone began to shoot at them. They survived the inexplicable attack and felt sure that Tom had orchestrated it, although he was far away on that day. The situation between father and son grew more paranoid until August 3. On that day, Tom dropped Pat off at the doctor and then walked over to see his mother when he was sure his father would not be home. Pat had told him that someone had been calling their house all night long and then had just breathed. She felt sure it was Walter, so Tom felt it was time to try to straighten things out. Otherwise, he thought his father might try to shoot him off his horse in the parade that weekend. His mother was not home, although he expected her, so to avoid the possibility of running into Walter, he checked the basement door, found it unlocked, and went to sit inside and wait.

To his surprise, Walter came home — it was later determined that he'd received a call from an unknown woman telling him that Tom was at his house — and began to rant and rave over Tom's presence. The electricity was off, so he went into the basement to look around, found the switch box tampered with, and then went out to call the police. But the phone line had been cut, so he used a neighbor's phone to get the police out there. They arrived, but Walter said he'd take care of the situation himself, so they left. He then went back into the basement and started shooting randomly. Carolyn was home by that time and he called up to her that he had Tom cornered. He needed the gun he'd just purchased, so she grabbed it to bring it to him. Tom later claimed that he panicked, certain that his father would kill him. He could not imagine how he had gotten into such a situation.

When officers arrived once again in response to an emergency call, they found Carolyn Allanson sitting upright on the basement steps, shot dead. Through the basement window, they could see numerous sprays of blood. Not far away inside, Walter lay on the ground. He'd been shot numerous times — it was later determined that there were 20 separate entrance wounds — and the police immediately suspected Tom. He'd been seen there, and a man matching his description had run from the crime scene.

Tom was soon arrested. When Pat told a number of lies to the attorney in an alleged attempt to provide Tom with an alibi, the situation became even more suspicious. Tom had his own story — also a lie — and it didn't match. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. At the time of the murders, he and Pat had been married less than two months, and now Pat had the farm to herself. It wasn't long before she tried to talk Tom into a suicide pact, which he later felt sure was an attempt to get him to die so she would inherit everything.

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