Doug Mouton / Northshore Bureau Chief
SLIDELL -- A Slidell man admitted to beating his parents to death with a hammer, according to St. Tammany Sheriff's investigators. John Willis , 25, of 142 Northwood Drive in Slidell is now in the St. Tammany Parish Jail, charged with two counts of first degree murder.
Willis' parents, 62-year old Louis Willis and 58-year old Helen Willis, both died of multiple head injuries, according to the St. Tammany Coroner's Office, consistent with being beaten with a hammer. John Willis lived with his parents inside the home.
"We have no other motive or reason that we can assign to why John Willis would attack his parents in the fashion, with the violence that he did," St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain said during a Wednesday press conference. "We believe that it started over a simple discussion between him and his parents about doing more chores or work around the home."
That discussion escalated in an argument, according to Sheriff Strain, then to an attack.
"He (John Willis) attacked his mother first, using a hammer," Sheriff Strain said, "he then turned, went down the hall and attacked his father. After a struggle, we believe he hit his father in the head, killing him, then left the scene."
Before leaving the scene, Willis tried to make the incident look like there was a forced entry, according to investigators, and his discarded his bloody clothing and the hammer.
"Carrying out his ruse to the point that he actually went to a friend's house and invited the friend to come to the home," Sheriff Strain said. "Once entering, played the role in shock that, I can't believe my parents are dead."
According to Sheriff Strain, St. Tammany Sheriff's detectives quickly noticed inconsistencies in John Willis' story. "Once we presented him with those facts, indisputable," Sheriff Strain said, "he finally admitted his complete role in everything that he did."
For now, the friend who returned to the home with Willis and called 9-1-1 is not suspected of wrongdoing. "It appears by all evidence that we have found that this man acted alone," Sheriff Strain added. "It was based on an argument that began with his parents, and ended with his parents."
"They're both good people," Scott Crawford said of Louis and Helen Willis, his in-laws. "They didn't deserve this."
Family members told Eyewitness News, they knew John Willis didn't always see eye to eye with his parents, but they said, they never expected anything like what happened Tuesday.
"I didn't expect anything to this degree," Scott Crawford added, "my wife's mother was not in the best of health, so we kind of anticipated losing her eventually, not this way."
Many longtime neighbors stopped by the crime tape encircled home Wednesday to ask deputies what happened.
"This morning, I was coming down the street after living here for 30 years," Katie Posey said. "I've never seen anything like this."
According to the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office, John Willis had no prior criminal record.