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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2006
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Mom accused in slaying
Falkville woman charged in housemate's stabbing death; 12-year-old son was initial suspect

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

FALKVILLE — A homicide investigation took a sudden turn this week as police shifted suspicion to the mother of the 12-year-old boy police found with the murder weapon, Falkville Police Chief Chris Free said Tuesday.

Donna Kay Woodlee, 36, not her son, wielded the knife during the stabbing following a string of altercations between housemates Friday, Free said.

The single wound to the chest killed 49-year-old Christopher Abbott.

"I think she (Woodlee) was upset at the fact that he (Abbott) had hit her son. He was punched in the nose," Free said.

Police arrived at the residence to find the bloody butcher knife in Woodlee's son's possession. The boy had minor injuries to his face.

Investigators now believe the boy played no role in the stabbing, Free said.

"The juvenile was just there when the altercation took place. Him and Chris had got into some sort of altercation, and then Donna and Chris got into an altercation, and Chris got stabbed," Free said.

Police took Woodlee, her son and Abbott's wife, Jennifer, into custody for questioning Friday night.

Argument

"From what we understand, there was an argument between Abbott and her (Jennifer Abbott) that started the whole thing. And then the 12-year-old was trying to get them to stop arguing, and I think he got punched at that point," Free said.

The Abbotts stayed in the bedroom where emergency personnel discovered Christopher Abbott's body after the 4:40 p.m. 911 call Friday, Free said.

The couple shared the house with Woodlee, her two children and two men, one of whom owns the home.

Friday wasn't the first time trouble broke out at the residence, Free said.

Domestic violence

"We have run some calls out there to that house for domestic violence that she (Woodlee) was involved in," Free said.

Police arrested Woodlee on a charge of murder Monday. Morgan County Jail released her Tuesday on $20,000 bond, but she was later arrested again and returned to jail on a charge of violating probation.

"It's a possibility she might could face some other charges, but it's pending the outcome of the investigation. Right now we're not looking at anybody else as a suspect," Free said.

Some aspects of the case, such as how the boy came to possess the knife, remain under investigation, he said.

Funeral for Abbott is today at 2 p.m. at Roselawn Funeral Home Chapel, with family receiving friends from 11 to 2 p.m. Burial will be at a later date.

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