September 13, 1947
West Los Angeles
All Betty Rockwell MacDonald, the pretty, poised and wealthy 24-year-old wife of Robert MacDonald, wanted was for her husband to stop threatening her. And for him to get a job. He hadn't worked since 1945.
Robert, 27, a former Lt. who received three Purple Hearts, a Silver and a Bronze Star in the European theater, has been receiving psychiatric care at the VA. This may have helped when Betty filed for divorce five months ago, agreed to reconcile, and recently began making divorce sounds again. Unfortunately, Robert's shrink didn't insist he remove his collection of war weaponry from the family home at 822 Warner Ave.
Last night, Betty phoned her attorney and insisted on revising her will. Now. She was not, she claimed, being threatened, but nonetheless she could not wait. And so her $100,000 fortune was to be shared by the MacDonald children, John, 6, and Eilen Gay, 11 months, with Betty's mother as executrix.
Robert slept in the den last night, and was surly when Betty woke him to move his car so she could take little John to the dentist. The couple ended up in their upstairs bedroom, where they scuffled and argued. Nurse Constance Baker ran upstairs and saw John come hurtling out of the room as if tossed. Then gunshots: chest and head for Betty, mouth-shot for John. Both DOA, a sad finish to the story that began with the pair's elopement in 1940.
Suggested reading: Surviving Domestic Violence: Voices of Women Who Broke Free