Police: Grandmother researched killing family members before murder

Channel 2's Ross Cavitt explains what will likely happen when the mother-in-law is forced to face a judge.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Police say a grandmother accused of killing her daughter-in-law began planning the murder last school year.

Betsy Wall is accused of shooting Jenna Walls, a Cobb County elementary school teacher, four times inside Jenna Walls' parents' home in June.

At a probable cause hearing Friday, officers testified that Betsy Wall sent her seven and eight-year-old grandchildren outside to a pickup truck with her cellphone before shooting Jenna Wall.

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She then called her son as, police say, she contemplated committing suicide.

“He gets a call stating I'm at Jenna's parents’ house and you need to come home and get the children,” Det. Shawn Murphy said.

When he arrived at the home, police say Jerrod Wall found his kids in the truck and his mother inside the home.


“He goes into the house and finds Ms. Wall on the couch with a black revolver up to her chin, essentially threatening suicide,” Murphy said.

Investigators say the 63-year-old had bought the .357 handgun months earlier after some internet research.

“On the internet searches on her cellphone on April 19, she had researched several articles regarding someone killing their family and themselves. She searched several items on wrongful death lawsuits as well,” Murphy testified in front of a courtroom filled with Jenna Wall’s family, and friends from the elementary school where she taught.

Jerrod and Jenna Wall were embroiled in a custody battle over the two kids at the time of the murder, but when detectives asked her over and over again why she did it, she refused to answer.

“After probably a half hour of speaking with her, she made a few statements saying, ‘Just leave me alone. Let me die. I want a lawyer. He’ll let me die,’” Murphy said.

Detectives say Jenna and Betsy Wall sparred on social media to the point where Jenna took down her Facebook page.

“Jenna had posted basically a picture of a quote that says, ‘If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would know the magnitude of the battle you are fighting,’ and in a response to that, (Betsy wrote), ‘The magnitude of the battle to come is far beyond your comprehension,’” Murphy said.

Betsy Wall's attorney told the judge Friday that Wall's mental state was so fragile he was afraid she'd pass out or cause a scene in court, so she was allowed to sit behind a wall in a corner of the courtroom out of view. Wall's attorney told Channel 2's Ross Cavitt that the grandmother has previously done a stint in a mental health facility.

“There's no question about who did it. It’s more why it was done and what was her mental state at the time it was done,” her attorney, Jimmy Berry, said.

Berry says he wants to have his client mentally evaluated before an indictment. %