Meridian Star

February 19, 2013

Accused murderer critical after failed suicide attempt

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A man who was charged in the death of a Lauderdale County woman last year is in critical condition at a local hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

    Harry Wayne Walden, 62, suffered a broken neck in the incident that occurred at about 5:15 p.m. Sunday, say sources familiar with the case. Walden, say sources, is in an intensive care unit in a Meridian hospital recovering but they say he is paralyzed from the neck down.

    Walden was arrested by investigators with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department July 10, 2012 in connection with the death of 60-year old Elizabeth Morris. A bond of $50,000 was issued in the case and Walden posted the minimum amount to be released.

    According to Meridian Police Department Capt. Dean Harper, commander of the department's Criminal Investigation Division, an MPD patrolman was flagged down by a passerby and told a man was standing on the walkway of the 22nd Avenue overpass waving at traffic. The officer went to the scene and as he approached the man, later identified by sources as Walden, the officer noticed the man had a rope tied around his neck. The officer tried to talk to the man but the man jumped off the bridge in an attempt to end his life.

    "Officers pulled the man up and immediately began to administer CPR," Harper said in a press release Monday morning. "The man was transported to a local hospital in critical condition."

    Harper said traffic across the busy overpass was disrupted for a short time while emergency crews worked successfully to revive the man and for police to secure and process the scene.

    Morris, who lived at 3510 Highway 11/80 with Walden, was the subject of a missing person's report submitted July 10 after family members became worried. Morris' car was found abandoned later that day on Old Highway 45 north of Lauderdale.

    LCSD Maj. Casey McElhenney, commander of the department's Criminal Investigation Division, says Walden came into the sheriff's department around 5 p.m. July 10 to answer some questions and make a statement on what he knew of Morris' disappearance. Morris' body was found behind the couple's home the next day by investigators. Her body was discovered in a 55-gallon drum. Walden was then charged with manslaughter.

    McElhenney says the death is believed to be a result of a domestic altercation between the couple.