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Deputies: Citrus couple dead in murder-suicide

Investigators say the woman came home at 2 a.m. Sunday and shot her husband, then herself.

By JORGE SANCHEZ
Published August 22, 2005


[Times photo: Stephen J. Coddington]
Sheriff's officers try to calm Melody Olmstead, 38, after her parents were found dead Sunday. Authorities say that Susan Buckley, 55, shot her husband, William, 52, before turning the gun on herself. A motorist saw William Buckley's body in his driveway and called the Sheriff's Office.

BEVERLY HILLS - A motorist traveling down a side street early Sunday came across a frightening scene - a man with a gunshot wound lying in a driveway.

William Buckley, 52, had been killed by his wife, Susan Buckley, 55, Citrus County Sheriff's Office investigators say.

Susan Buckley then fatally shot herself with a handgun, investigators say. Her body was found inside, by the front door of the couple's home, 34 DeSoto St., sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said.

The deaths are being investigated as a murder-suicide. The shootings occurred between 2 and 7:53 a.m. Sunday, when William Buckley's body was found. Investigators say he was shot inside the home, then he staggered outside, leaving a trail of blood. He collapsed and died near the end of his driveway, a few feet from DeSoto Street.

His body lay there until a motorist saw it and called the Sheriff's Office, Tierney said.

Susan Buckley and her daughter, Melody Olmstead, 38, also of Beverly Hills, went out together Saturday night, the Sheriff's Office said. Olmstead dropped her mother off at home at about 2 a.m. Sunday. Tierney said investigators are not releasing details of where the two went Saturday night.

Neighbors told sheriff's investigators that they heard arguing coming from the home after Susan Buckley returned, Tierney said.

The Sheriff's Office had made some visits to the home in the past year, Tierney said. Deputies had been there to serve civil process papers, had taken a report on verbal threats, made a half-dozen security checks and, in January, investigated Mrs. Buckley's claim that her son-in-law grabbed her by the wrist.

She said the marriage was under a lot of pressure.

"It wasn't coming from Mr. and Mrs. Buckley, but from other external factors," she said.

Tierney said that Olmstead and her husband were having marriage problems and Susan Buckley and her son-in-law didn't get along. That created friction in the family, Tierney said.

"Plus Mrs. Buckley had some health problems, which caused her a lot of pain," Tierney said.

Olmstead learned of her parents' deaths Sunday morning and drove to the scene. Deputies prevented her from going inside.

Contacted Sunday evening, Olmstead said her parents' deaths were "nobody's business" and declined any further comment.

Sheriff's investigators are not releasing details of how many times William Buckley was shot or the caliber of the handgun. The medical examiner is scheduled to perform autopsies on both bodies today.

Jorge Sanchez can be reached at 860-7313 or e-mail at sanchez@sptimes.com

[Last modified August 22, 2005, 01:07:12]


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