After a Triple Murder in East Dallas, DPD Accuses a Man of Killing His Wife and In-Laws

By 8 a.m., the news vans had started to arrive, parking on the street behind the cop cars, the Medical Examiner's white sedan, the city of Dallas vehicle marked "Crime Scene." They sank their tripods into the soft mud surrounding the house on Peavy Road, a nice-looking two-story with a two-car garage, a sun roof and a tire swing hanging from the big tree in the front yard. By 9, technicians wearing blue latex gloves and blue footies over their shoes were loading the bodies into vans from Southwestern Medical Center. A detective in a neon green rain slicker lifted the yellow crime scene tape to let the vans down the driveway, then stretched it back across.

Looking at this scene, there were a lot of unanswered questions about who and what and why. But the police just demystified things pretty thoroughly, giving this account during a press conference at DPD headquarters:

A man named Willliam Palmer showed up at the house on Peavy this morning, they said. His wife, Donya, 47, was staying there with her parents. Donya and William separated about a week ago. When Donya came out around 6 this morning to retrieve something from her car, William attacked her. She ran back inside the house for help and made it to the living room, but he caught her, and then he stabbed her.

Hearing screams, Donya's 69-year-old father, Raymond Davis, emerged to see what was happening. William stabbed him to death too. When Mary Jane, Danya's 67-year-old mother, came out, she too was stabbed to death.

Donya's sister rushed into the living room last; she too was stabbed, but managed to escape, albeit with stab wounds on her arm. She grabbed her 6-year-old daughter, who also lives at the home and had slept through the attack.

They ran to an upstairs bedroom, hid and called 911. In the four minutes between when she made the call and when police arrived, William Palmer escaped.

Police say Palmer headed from the scene of the crime back to his home in Sachse. Undercover police officers trailed him from there to a Taco Bueno on State Highway 78. He told the cashier at the drive-thru to hurry; later, she told police that she noticed his hands were bloody, bandaged poorly with black electrical tape. As he exited the drive-thru, police arrested him. He now sits in Lew Sterrett, charged with capital murder. His bond has been set at $1,000,000.

William and Donya have three children, all over 18. They told police this morning their father had no history of domestic violence. Police are still awaiting a report on what Palmer used to stab his victims.

Police are still investigating possible motives. But: "We've seen it all too often in the last couple of months," Lieutenant David Pughes said. "Couples who separate, and one individual snaps and commits a horrific act like this."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Anna Merlan
Contact: Anna Merlan