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Family devastated after fatal attack, arrest of daughter

Break-in at Wills house leads to school lockdown

POSTED May 13, 2011 8:32 p.m.

Nearly one week after an attack inside a Denair home left a father dead and a mother hospitalized with severe injuries, family members are just beginning to grapple with their loss and the question of how the couple’s 17-year-old daughter became a murder suspect.

Kenneth Wills, 62, was killed Sunday night and his wife, Susan Wills, 61, was wounded in an attack that Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detectives say was carried out at the hands of the couple’s daughter, 17-year-old Shanna Wills. Investigators placed Shanna Wills under arrest and have charged her with murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

On the investigation side, detectives continue to probe into a recent break-in at the Salluce Drive residence, where the attack occurred, to try and determine if it has any connection to the fatal assault, or if it was a crime of opportunity.

No suspects have been taken into custody for the break-in, despite a three-hour lockdown on Wednesday of the Denair neighborhood and nearby school campuses.

Residents on Salluce Drive were the first to notice the two men around 10 a.m. Wednesday. The men were pushing a Ford Ranger down the street in an effort to get it started, according to the witnesses.

The sheriff’s department was alerted and a few neighbors tried to stop the two men, who abandoned the vehicle when confronted and fled, with one of them carrying a full burlap sack.

When deputies arrived they found three rifles in the vehicle. Authorities didn’t know where the suspects might have fled to and were concerned that they could be armed, so as a precaution they advised the Denair Unified School District to lockdown all their campuses, which are located about a mile away.

Both the rifles and the Ford Ranger were taken from the residence. It’s unknown what was in the burlap sack.

The suspects were described as white males in their late teens to early 20s. One was wearing a white T-shirt and the other had one a tank top.

The murder of Kenneth Wills and the subsequent arrest of the teen have shocked the Denair community and has been the fodder for much rumor and speculation, which has been particularly distressing for the family said the Wills’ older daughter, Kristy Duncan.

“He was an amazing man,” said Duncan. “There was never, never ever any abuse in that family — mental, physical or sexual — never. He was the bestest friend there ever was. He loved us. He would do anything for us. He loved Shanna more than anything and gave her anything she wanted and more. She was ungrateful for it.”

Susan Wills remains hospitalized, Duncan said.

Shanna Wills is scheduled to appear in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Wednesday for an arraignment. She is being held on a $3million bail.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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