Gun believed to have been used in mother’s murder
The thumbprint of a Walker teenager accused of fatally shooting his mother and leaving his two younger siblings in the home with her body for several days was found on the shotgun authorities believe was used in the shooting, according to court records.
The print taken from the 12-gauge Winchester pump shotgun found at the Village Maison townhome Edward R. Island III shared with his siblings and mother, Tamila Wooley, matched Island’s right thumb, according to crime lab reports filed into the court record.
Investigators found the gun, with a fired shotshell still in the chamber, behind Island’s upstairs bedroom door, along with a box containing Wooley’s wallet, the reports state.
Police believe Island, 17, turned the shotgun on the 34-year-old Wooley — who was found lying in bed in her first-floor bedroom — on either late Dec. 29 or early Dec. 30.
Island has been charged with second-degree murder in the case. He has pleaded not guilty.
The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab test-fired the shotgun and microscopically compared pieces of the test-fired shotshells to shotshell pieces collected from Wooley’s body, the lab report states.
The comparison revealed that the shotshell pieces bore similar characteristics and some individual detail, “but lack sufficient reproducing individual detail for an identification” to each other or to the test-fired shells, the report states.
Wooley suffered four gunshot wounds — two to the chest, one to the lower abdomen and one to the right hand, according to an autopsy report. One of the chest wounds fractured the upper sternum, pierced Wooley’s aorta and caused significant damage to her heart.
A crime scene investigation report noted blood on multiple surfaces in Wooley’s bedroom, including the ceiling, walls and floor around the bed, as well as on the bed itself.
Police believe Island left his mother’s body in her bed, told his two half-siblings — an 11-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl — that Wooley was sick and resting and left the children in the home with her body for at least two days. Island visited the home several times to feed the children, police said.
Police were notified around noon Jan. 1 by a family friend who found Wooley’s body inside the home.
Neither Island nor Wooley had criminal records in Livingston Parish prior to the shooting, but court documents in California paint a picture of a troubled family.
A sanity hearing for the teen has been put on hold while the California records are subpoenaed, defense attorney Timothy Fondren said Thursday. Fondren said the records may hold answers to what led up to the shooting.
According to records obtained by The Advocate, Island’s maternal grandmother, Regina Williamson, filed for guardianship of the boy in San Bernardino County in June 2009, claiming the then-12-year-old Island was “being physically and mentally abused by his natural mother (Wooley) and the child no longer wants to live with her.”
Williamson dropped the petition about a month later.
Island’s father, Edward Robert Island Jr., was in and out of jail and was not involved in his son’s life, according to Williamson’s petition.
The elder Island had numerous drug and weapons convictions in San Bernardino County.
He also was sentenced twice to 36 months of probation for counts of corporal injury to his spouse, Wooley, in 1998 and 1999 and willful cruelty to his son in 1998 when Island III was only a year old.
The first sentence carried with it an order that Island Jr. have no contact with Wooley. The second sentence included anger management classes.
Wooley and Island III moved from California to Livingston Parish about two years ago, police have said.
Police believe one of Island’s issues with his mother was his desire to move back to California.
Island and Wooley would periodically get into arguments, but none escalated enough to require involvement from Walker police. Island showed no signs of physical abuse when arrested, police have said.
Wooley’s boss at Always Best Care Senior Services, an in-home elderly care organization, described Wooley as a kind and gentle soul who had trouble controlling her 17-year-old son.
Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen.