Last updated: February 19. 2013 10:33PM - 1246 Views

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BUTLER TWP. – A husband and wife were found dead inside a house on East Butler Drive early Monday morning in what the Luzerne County Coroner's Office believes was a murder-suicide.


Acting Coroner William Lisman identified the couple as John J. Walton, 51, and Stacy A. Walton, 41.


Autopsies by forensic pathologist Dr. Mary Pascucci at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital revealed the couple died from gunshot wounds.


We're not ready to make a determination on who was the perpetrator, Lisman said.


Township police Chief Dave Pavelko said the bodies were found in the same room inside 470 E. Butler Drive. Lisman pronounced John Walton and Stacy Walton dead at 9:40 a.m.


Two family members discovered the bodies when they went looking for Stacy Walton, Lisman said.


Two people were found dead in the home and we're conducting an investigation to find out what happened, Pavelko said.


Luzerne County Court records indicate John Walton filed for divorce from Stacy Walton on Nov. 28, claiming the marriage was broken. They were married in Hazleton in September 1995 and separated in late September 2012.


Stacy did not respond to the divorce petition she received on Dec. 4, according to court records.


John Walton listed his residence in the divorce petition as Woodlawn Drive in Hazle Township, and Stacy Walton residing in the East Butler Drive house located at the intersection of Hi Tor East on Freedom Mountain, about one mile from Freeland.


Property records say the couple purchased the property, which includes a ranch-style home with an attached two car garage, in August 2009.


Stacy Walton was a teacher at Hazleton Area School District's Freeland Elementary/Middle School in Freeland for about 10 years.


Pavelko said he did not know whether they died Sunday night or Monday morning. He did not disclose if there were signs of a struggle inside the house.


Pavelko said there was no one inside the house when the first officer arrived.


A search warrant for the house was filed with District Judge Daniel O'Donnell in Sugarloaf. O'Donnell's office refused to release the search warrant until a receipt of items seized from the property was filed.


Pavelko said he believes the incident was isolated to the house and there was no threat to the community.



Times Leader staff writer Sheena Delazio contributed to this report.


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