Man murders 4 family members with knife, including 5-year-old, sheriff says

Neighbors stopped by the home where four people were killed near Casa Grande, leaving candles, balloons and stuffed animals. (Source: azfamily)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 8:56 AM PDT
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CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (KTVK/KPHO/Gray News) – An Arizona man has been charged with murder after he fatally stabbed four family members, including his 5-year-old niece, officials say.

According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, 21-year-old Richard Wilson Jr. was charged with four counts of first-degree murder. He is being held at the Pinal County Jail on a $2.5 million bond.

The victims were identified as Wilson’s father, 47-year-old Richard Wilson; his mother, 50-year-old Ellen Otterman; his sister, 16-year-old Rudy Wilson; and his niece, 5-year-old ReNaya White, who had just started kindergarten.

The sheriff’s office said the investigation began with a 911 call from the 16-year-old sister Sunday afternoon regarding a domestic dispute at the home in Casa Grande.

During the 911 call, the sister told dispatchers that Wilson Jr. had just beaten up their mother, father, and 5-year-old niece in the house. Dispatchers said the sister was “frantic” on the phone and that audible screaming could be heard repeatedly until the call was disconnected.

“Ultimately, that cost her her life making that 911 call, and when our people arrived, she was one of the four deceased,” Pinal County Chief Deputy Matthew Thomas said.

Officials said deputies got to the home about 12 minutes later. When they arrived, they found Wilson Jr. with blood on his clothes and injuries to his right hand.

Richard Wilson Jr., 21, is being held at the Pinal County Jail on a $2.5 million bond.
Richard Wilson Jr., 21, is being held at the Pinal County Jail on a $2.5 million bond.(Arizona's Family)

Deputies said he told them, “I’m over here, take me to jail.” When deputies asked him if anyone was inside the home, he replied, “Go check.”

Deputies entered the home and discovered the four bodies, all of which appeared to have suffered fatal stab wounds to the neck.

Records show that this was the 10th time police were called to the home in the last three years. Two of those calls were mental health-related, and two others were welfare checks.

Wanda Hamilton, a neighbor, said she is in shock hearing about the murders.

“Disbelief, this doesn’t happen out here,” Hamilton said. “I can’t believe that, not him [Wilson Jr.]. I talked to that kid all the time.”

Hamilton said the family has lived at the home for about five years. She said Wilson Jr. lived with his grandparents a few houses down, but he visited his parent’s house daily to care for their horses.

Wilson Jr.’s father was a maintenance employee for the Casa Grande Elementary School District, and ReNaya had just started kindergarten at Desert Willow Elementary School. In a statement, Superintendent Adam Leckie said the tragedy is a huge loss for the district.

“It is with profound sadness that yesterday afternoon we were made aware of the tragic deaths of one of our Desert Willow students, ReNaya White, and maintenance employee Richard Wilson. This is an incredible loss to our CGESD family and will be a difficult time for all of us. Richard worked for CGESD for the last two years. He was well-liked by his co-workers and was known to be devoted to his family. ReNaya just started kindergarten at Desert Willow and was described as a happy, energetic, curious, loving girl. They will be missed greatly by all who knew them.”

The district has made extra counseling services available for students and staff.