Divorce Papers Filed Before Murder-Suicide

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BUTLER TOWNSHIP — The discovery of two people found dead in a home in Luzerne County Monday morning has been ruled a murder-suicide.

“Both of them were in the same room,” said Butler Township Police Chief Dave Pavalko. “We have two people who were found dead in the home and we’re conducting an investigation to see what happened.”

The coroner told Newswatch 16 that John Walton, 51, and Stacy Walton, 41, had both suffered a single gunshot wound, but that additional test results are needed before determining who fired the gun.

Bernie Yancha lives across the street from the crime scene near Freeland and told Newswatch 16 that John Walton had talked about the couple’s marital problems the last time that they had talked.

“We’d go down for coffee every morning, at the shop down here, and the truck was there,” said Yancha. “First thought in my head was that they were getting together again or something like that.”

According to divorce paperwork filed in the Luzerne County Courthouse last month, John Walton said that he had separated from his wife in September, could not support himself solely and wanted his wife to pay his legal bills.

Hazleton Area School District Superintendent Francis Antonelli told Newswatch 16 that Stacy Walton was an English as a Second Language teacher at Freeland Elementary School, as well as three other schools in the district.

Antonelli said that grief counselors were made available to students and staff at the schools where Stacy Walton worked.