Home of Jerry Willis --scene of murder/suicide on May 6, 2010 (image courtesy KSPR)

Investigators with the Howell County Sheriff's Office and the Highway Patrol are in the preliminary stages of an investigation into the shooting deaths of three people who were found dead outside a residence at 7751 State Route 17, about three miles northeast of West Plains.

The crime scene is just north of Junction Hill Elementary.

A dispatcher at the Howell County Sheriff's Office says, "We have at least 3 people who are J4." J4 is police terminology for deaths.

A police source says, "At this time it appears to be a double murder/suicide."



UPDATE 8:40 p.m.:

Howell County Sheriff Investigator Al Jones says that 45 year-old Kerry Lee Palangi shot and killed his 43 year-old estranged wife Elizabeth "Ann" and her friend 69 year-old Jerry Harold Wills then shot himself in Willis' front yard.

A neighbor says he witnessed Kerry Palangi shoot Willis, then chase his wife through the yard and shoot her, then go back and shoot Willis again before he turned the gun on himself. Jerry Willis would have turned 70 next week.

Willis, wasn't just the owner and landlord of several mobile homes that surrounded his, he was also a friend according to one of the tenants.




Kerry Palangi filed for divorce from his wife on March 31st, according to online court records.
Friends say that Willis let Ann Palangi stay at his house after her husband filed for divorce. The couples younger children will now live with members of their mother's family. The couple also have a 20 year-old daughter.

Two of the victims, Ann Palangi and Willis, were employed at West Vue, Inc Nursing Home. Counselors will be available to talk with co-workers tomorrow.

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