A Georgia woman pleaded guilty Friday to the June 23, 2016, murder of her son’s estranged wife, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Elizabeth “Betsy” Wall, 64, shot her daughter-in-law Jenna Wall, 35, four times while allegedly hearing voices in her head. Jenna, a local kindergarten teacher, had filed for divorce from Betsy’s son Jerrod Wall in October 2015. The two were involved in a custody battle over their two young sons, aged 7 and 8 at the time of their mother’s murder.
The New York Post reports that during the separation, Jenna was staying at her parents’ home in Powder Springs. Betsy was spending the day with her grandchildren and was supposed to transport them to a swimming activity.
Instead, Betsy drove to Jenna’s house and told the boys to wait in her vehicle. She then entered the residence and shot Jenna in the chest, torso, abdomen and head with a .357 revolver that she purchased two months prior to the event.
Betsy called Jerrod—an investigator in the Paulding County District Attorney’s Office—and told him to pick up his kids. When he arrived at his in-laws’ home, he found his wife dead in the kitchen, and his mother pointing a gun to her own head.
Betsy was taken into custody and charged with murder that same day.
Defense attorney Jimmy Berry said in court Friday that before the shooting, Betsy had spent time in a mental health facility. Doctors diagnosed her with severe chronic depression and PTSD. “Certainly she was very remorseful about what happened. She’s been very open with me about it,” Berry added.
Cobb County Detective Shawn Murphy testified at Betsy’s probable cause hearing in July 2016 that her April 19 mobile web search history—which was also the day she bought the firearm used in the shooting—revealed that Betsy was researching “several articles regarding someone killing their family and themselves,” he said. “She researched wrongful death lawsuits, as well.”
Chief ADA Jesse Evans reiterated to the court Friday that Wall’s phone contained “disparaging text messages about the victim as well as web searches regarding mental disorders, murder suicides, and wrongful-death liability.”
Evans concluded, “Those clearly showed that some thought went into this crime.”
[Feature Photo: Jenna Wall and Betsy Wall/Paulding County DA]