VANCOUVER -- Investigators believe a Vancouver man was beaten to death as he laid in bed and his wife has confessed to his murder, according to police.
Donna Williams called 911 on Wednesday and told dispatchers she had killed her husband of 30 years with a hammer about two weeks earlier.
She told arriving officers that she was the victim of abuse. But on Thursday, her daughter told KGW both parents were abusive, yet Donna was the main aggressor.
Court documents obtained by KGW said that officers arrived to find Mark Williams' body in a back bedroom, covered with bloody sheets. They said blood was also spattered on the walls.
The declaration of probable cause document outlined an interview with Sgt. Kevin Allais, one of the officers who first went inside the home. Allais said "the male on the bed appeared to have been struck numerous times in the head with a blunt object."
Allais also said that Donna had a black eye and told detectives her husband had punched her in the face on Mother's Day, while he was high on cocaine. She told them that after the beating, her husband went to sleep and then the next morning, she got a hammer out of the garage and beat him in the head.
She told deputies that she went to a local convenience store and left him to die. But when she returned, he was still breathing and holding his head, so she struck him in the head with the hammer some more.
"I just let him lie there and die," she told deputies, according to the probable cause document.
The couple has two adult children and grandchildren who live in Texas. Relatives told KGW both Mark and Donna struggled with drugs and alcohol. Their daughter, Rukia Droste, spoke to KGW by phone and said her parents fought often, but Donna was the main aggressor. Rukia said she and her brother were abused by both parents, but mostly by her mother.
She also blamed Donna for most of the trouble in the marriage and said she's angry over what happened to the father she loved.
"I sincerely hope that she spends the rest of her life in prison dealing with the damage that she has caused," Droste said.
Other family members were in shock.
"I just want to know why she did it, like why? What happened? What pushed you to the point to do all that? Why didn't you talk to us, one of us, and tell us what was going on or something like that? Why did you have to take it that far," said nephew Will Pitre.
The couple's home is located at 12216 NE 76th Street in Vancouver. Police have not said if they seized a hammer as evidence.
Neighbors told KGW they had seen Donna with black eyes before and wondered if she was the victim of domestic violence.
"She would come over crying lots of times and say, 'you just don't know, you don't know what I have to put up with.' But I just never thought it would come to this," said neighbor Barbara Bright.
Neighbors said they had also noticed the normally immaculate yard that Mark prided himself in caring for daily had become neglected over the past couple weeks. They worried something was wrong.
According to the probable cause document, Donna told police Mark had become increasingly abusive toward her and also smoked marijuana daily and often used cocaine. She said she had confronted him about it, which was why he beat her on Mother's Day.
"A person can only take so much. She's just a tiny lady," Bright said. "You can only push a person so far."
After questioning by police, Donna was arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail on 1st degree murder charges. She appeared in court briefly on Thursday morning and the judge set bail at $750,000.