Suspect confesses to hitting wife with hammer; charged with murd - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Suspect confesses to hitting wife with hammer; charged with murder

(Photo source: GPD) (Photo source: GPD)
Whitley's body was found on Wednesday. (Photo source: WLOX) Whitley's body was found on Wednesday. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

A Gulfport man charged with first degree murder of his wife made an initial appearance in court on Friday. 

According to an affidavit, William Douglas Bryant called police on May 3 to report that hit he his wife with a hammer two to three days prior, and that she was dead. 

A neighbor says the sounds coming from the couple's apartment were horrifying.

"She was screaming someone was beating her. And she was screaming, screaming, screaming, and someone was screaming back at her," said the neighbor, who did not want to be identified. 

For months, the neighbor says she could hear a woman screaming in pain inside the apartment unit where Bryant and Whitley lived.

"I just heard the man's voice. You (expletive, expletive). Do you want to lay on the floor? Do you want to sit here? I'm gonna beat the (expletive) out of you if you don't get up,'" said the neighbor. 

On one occasion, the neighbor even called 9-1-1.

"The last time I heard him beating her, I called the police," said the neighbor. "They went over there and the man did not answer the door, so there was nothing they could do."

The neighbor arrived home on Wednesday to police cars and crime scene investigators near her home.

"....there was 20 cops out here....something must have happened. I knew someone had been murdered," added the neighbor. 

Police found 43-year-old Whitley's body inside of the apartment. 

According to Whitley's obituary, she battled a rare brain tumor at only 19 years old, surviving multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation while earning a degree in journalism. The Texas native worked at the VA until she medically retired in 2013.

"I feel like there was something else I could have done for her, but I can't do anything for her now. There was something I could have done," noted the neighbor. 

Charged with first degree murder, Bryant was issued a $1,000,000 and remains behind bars. He will face a judge on May 12 for a preliminary on May 12.

An autopsy has been completed, but the results have not yet been released.

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