A West Virginia Mother Blamed Her 11-Year-Old For Husband’s Murder

When authorities arrived at a home where a man had been shot, the story they heard didn’t quite add up.

Wayne Wyers, pictured here in glasses and a blue shirt, was shot to death in February 1987.

In February 1987, Wayne Wyers was found shot to death. When investigators arrived, the story they heard didn't add up.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from "People Magazine Investigates")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from "People Magazine Investigates")

Wayne Wyers was on the floor with a bullet in his chest when police arrived at his small West Virginia home in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 1987.

There was a spent .22 caliber casing nearby, and police quickly secured a bolt-action rifle before rendering aid to the man.

Wayne smelled of alcohol as police tried to ask what happened, but he could only say that he’d been shot and that he was going to die.

This was the third time police had been summoned to the Wyers rural home where he lived with his mother-in-law, his wife, Priscilla, and their children — a daughter from Priscilla’s previous relationship and the daughter and two sons he had with Priscilla.

Other calls to the home had included a dispute with neighbors and a verbal altercation between Wayne and Priscilla. The night Wayne was shot, it was Priscilla who called 911 and said she had done it in self-defense. Their younger days of playing pool in bars and riding around town seemed like a lifetime away.

High School Sweethearts

Wayne and Priscilla met in high school after Priscilla’s cousin introduced them. He was a charismatic ladies' man. She was a 15-year-old girl who loved that the tall, handsome football star was enamored with her. The two dated for a period of time, but Priscilla broke it off after a few months.

Both Wayne and Priscilla moved on to other relationships but ran into one another at a hospital in 1975. Priscilla had just given birth to her daughter, Mary. Wayne and his new wife were welcoming a baby too.

The old spark was still there. A few months later, Wayne called Priscilla and asked her out, confiding in her that he didn’t want to be married to his wife. He filed for divorce, and he and Priscilla married instead. The pair moved in together and went on to have three children of their own.

They lived in poverty, but Wayne did his best to support the family by working as an over-the-road trucker.

Secrets Kept

After Wayne was whisked away to the hospital, police read Priscilla her rights and asked for her side of the story.

Wayne, she said, had a violent streak and was angry at her that weekend because she’d loaned his jeep to a friend, who then wrecked the vehicle. When Priscilla refused to tell him who wrecked his jeep, Wayne started asking around town and got an answer that only stoked his fury — a neighbor told him Priscilla was carrying on an affair with the friend who wrecked his jeep.

Priscilla told the police that Wayne came home and beat her. He ripped her shirt and tried to strangle her before he put a knife to her face. It wasn't the first time he hit her, Priscilla said.

There was just one problem — Priscilla didn’t have a mark on her.

She then changed her story just a little bit.

“I didn’t shoot him,” she told the police. “But I’m responsible.”

Find out what happened at the Wyers home on People Magazine Investigates: Mother’s Orders on ID June 13 at 9/8c. See more episodes on discovery+.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence or abuse from a romantic partner, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 1.800.799.SAFE, or text START to 88788 for help. Advocates are available 24/7 to help callers talk through their situation and connect them with local resources. There is no charge to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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