Family says grandmother shot to death trying to save daughter


by WHAS11

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 11:14 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Kentucky woman was apparently shot and killed by her son-in-law who police said also took his own life.

At around 10:30 Sunday night, dispatchers received a frantic phone call from a 17-year-old who had just run from the house where police believe his stepfather killed his grandmother.

Phyllis Tarter, 58, lived with her grandsons, daughter Debbie and son-in-law in a Willisburg home.

Debbie said her husband, William Woodford, 52, was drinking Sunday night and became abusive. Tarter called police 15 minutes before she was shot, worried for her daughter's life not her own.

Family members said Tarter tried to distract her son-in-law, but the 58-year-old became the victim herself allowing her daughter and grandson to escape. Police arrived at the home and tried to make contact with Woodford for about five hours. At about 3:30 a.m. they entered the home and found the 52-year-old with what police said appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Police will rely on the autopsy to confirm whether the shooting was a murder-suicide.

Excerpts from 911 tapes:

10:14pm from Phyllis Tarter
Woman:  I need someone to come out to 1660 West Grove Road Willisburg
Dispatcher: What's going on?
Tarter:  My daughter's husband is loading a shotgun and i guess he's threatening to kill himself and kill her.  And I don't know what all.  He’s loading two shotguns.  Her name is Debbie Woodford.  His name is Bill Woodford.
Dispatcher:  What's your name?
Tarter:  My name is Phyllis Tarter. 
Dispatcher:  Phyllis Tarter?
Tarter: Yes
Dispatcher:  Phyllis, what did you tell me the daughter's name is?
Tarter: Debbie

10:22pm 911 dispatcher calls back Phyllis Tater
Tarter:  Hello?
Dispatcher:  Phyllis?
Tarter:  Yes, this is Phyllis.
Dispatcher:  I was trying to transfer the deputy to you.  Are you at that residence?
Tarter:  Yes I am. 
Dispatcher:  And why is it you all just can’t leave?
Tarter:  She doesn't.  I don't know where she is, I’ve been wanting to leave, my car is stuck.  She’s my daughter and I can't leave her. 

10:28pm from grandson
Grandson:  He shot my grandma
Dispatcher:  He shot your grandma?
Grandson:  He killed my grandma, just go to the house. Please
Dispatcher:  OK, Who’s your grandma?
Grandson:  Phyllis Tarter
Dispatcher:  And she's shot?
Grandson:  She is on the ground dead.