Friday, February 27, 2015

Maumelle police report on three deaths mentions financial tension, but finds no 'singular motive'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 3:03 PM

DEATH SCENE: Fire consumes Wibanks home in Maumelle.
  • DEATH SCENE: Fire consumes Wibanks home in Maumelle.

The Maumelle police today released their case file on the deaths last week of James, Tatiana and Elizabeth Wilbanks in what has been ruled a double murder/suicide by James Wilbanks, a UALR business faculty member.

The full incident report and attached narratives from investigators provide little beyond what Chief Sam Williams told us earlier this week — that Milbanks had shot his wife and sister and two dogs and then started a fire before shooting himself with the same 9mm-semi-automatic pistol he'd used to kill the others.

The report found no explanation about what led to the night's events. But it did provide at least one hint at a possible source of unhappiness.

One friend told police that he'd been with James Wilbanks early Friday evening at Twin Peaks, a bar and restaurant in Little Rock. He said he and several friends often got together on Fridays. "He said that James appeared to be in good spirits and was his usual self."

Another friend also told police was easy going. But, he added, "James had told him that Tatiana had a temper and James had spoken of it. He also said that James had told him that Tatiana was spending more than he was making. He said that several credit cards were at their maximum and that was bothering James." He also said Wilbanks' sister was a severe diabetic and did not get out much.

Another friend said he'd spoken to Wilbanks about 3:30 p.m. last Friday, the day of the shooting. Wilbanks told him about a job offer at East Carolina University. "He said that he did not seem stressed about anything. He did state that James had made a comment in the past about Tatiana's weight gain. He also stated that he had never seen any negative emotion about anything from James, which he finds strange."

The investigators said they'd found no evidence of any affairs by Wilbanks or his wife.

Detective Gregory Roberts said they'd been unable to conclude why a fire was started though "....possibilities range from an attempt to cover or destroy evidence of a shooting or an act of rage in the home. A singular motive for this act has also not been determined at this time. Due to all involved parties being deceased, and the absence of a suicide note on the scene, it is impossible to determine what the purpose of these crimes was intended to accomplish."



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