Neighbors still puzzled by murder of 77-year-old woman in Ballantrae

Published 4:19 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

Neighbors on Caliston Way in the Ballantrae subdivision of Pelham are still puzzled at the stabbing death of a 77-year-old woman at the hands of her 84-year-old husband.

William Virgil Proctor was arrested and charged May 14 with the murder of his wife, Gwendolyn Elizabeth Tuggle Proctor.

Tim Spencer, who lives across the street and three houses down from the Proctors, was at work when police were called to the Proctor home at approximately 3:25 p.m. Friday, and he was shocked when he heard the news.

“It caught us completely by surprise,” Spencer said.

Spencer said he had noticed that Pelham Police had been called to the home “three or four times over the last couple of months,” but with the couple being elderly, he wasn’t sure if the calls were domestic or health related.

“We never knew anything was wrong,” Spencer said. “We didn’t expect anything like that.”

Officers were called to the scene when a neighbor discovered Proctor in the home with his deceased wife.

Spencer said he spoke with the neighbor who discovered the scene, and she told him Proctor was calm.

“She said he told her what he had done, and she told him that they had to call the police,” Spencer said.

Several other neighbors spoke with the Reporter May 17, but they declined to be named.

One female neighbor said she was out of town when the incident happened, while another male neighbor also said he was out town.

“My daughter told me when I got back, and I was shocked,” he said. “You don’t expect something like this to happen in your neighborhood.”

Proctor was initially booked on the murder charge and bond was set at $75,000, but bond was raised to $250,000 at a May 17 hearing.

“Having reviewed the facts, we felt that the initial bond amount was insufficient for this type of crime,” said. Shelby County Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Bostick.

Bostick said a preliminary hearing has been set for June 23 in front of Judge Dan Reeves.

Proctor is currently being held in the Shelby County Jail.