Wiggins Man Charged With Double Murder

A Wiggins man faces two murder charges for the overnight stabbing deaths of his wife and 12-year old-stepson.

Police are calling the crime an apparent case of domestic violence.

Willie Lee Wortham, 56, is behind bars in the Stone County jail. He is being held on a $1 million bond. Wortham is accused of killing his wife, Shirley Wortham, 34, and his stepson, Levon Buckhalter, 12.

The murders happened sometime late Wednesday night at the family's home on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Wiggins. The neighborhood is located just east of downtown Wiggins near Highway 26.

The crime scene tape surrounding the Wortham home offered the only clue that a tragedy happened there. Wiggins police got the first call after midnight, from the Harrison County Sheriff's department.

"They called us and told us that they had a 911 call come in on their system stating that a gentleman had claimed to have hurt his family members at his residence here in Wiggins," Wiggins Police Chief Steve Compston said.  "Officers went to investigate, and in fact did find a double homicide."

After the killings, police say Willie Wortham drove to a Saucier neighborhood on Thomas Lawton Road. He banged on the door of an acquaintance and told her he was in trouble. The woman says Wortham was talking crazy. She called 911, and the suspect was arrested a few doors down without incident.

A woman who lives next door to the victims couldn't believe what happened.

"I was shocked. I'm still shocked about what happened. Like I said, she was just like a daughter," Wiggins resident Lou Evans said.

The next door neighbor says Shirley Wortham and her son were sweet people. She also says there was no indication of any trouble when she last talked with her friend, just hours before the murders.

"No. Uh uh. 'Cause I seen her yesterday evening before I went to Bible study. And she was smiling and you know, barbecuing."

Wiggins police had been to the home at least once before on a domestic violence call. In fact, Chief Compston says late last year, Shirley Wortham filed charges against her husband, but later asked a judge that the charges be dropped.