A Huntingdon veteran of World War II and father, of seven children last night took his own life by firing a charge of shot into his throat. A 12 gauge single barrell shotgun was used. The veteran, Walter Scott Hearn, 39, was found slumped over his gun at the foor of the stairsteps in his home at 61 Penn Street when Coroner E. Blair Shore and Borough Policemen William H. Smucker and Fred Lang arrived at the scene. A verdict of suicide, was returned. No inquest will be held. The shooting took place at 10:30 o'clock. It climaxed an afternoon and evening of a family disturbance in the Hearn home. Hearn was arrested several weeks ago on a serious morals charge and he had been held in the Huntingdon County Jail until yesterday afternoon, when he obtained his release. The Hearns have a son, Paul, 12, who is a patient in the J. C. Blair Memorial Hospital suffering from rheumatism. Mrs. Hearn was at the hospital visiting the son when her husband arrived home about 2 o'clock. A short time after she returned home from the hosptial her husband opened a discussion with her about influencing the prosecutor on the case against him - Raymond Mays of Lewistown - to have the charges dismissed. Mrs. Hearn declared that her husband threatened to do her and a daughter, Muriel, 17 bodily harm with a baseball bat as the weapon. The home was in real turmoil throughout the remainder of the afternoon, Mrs. Hearn declared. In the evening before dusk Hearn left his home and was uptown, she stated. At 8:30 o'clock he returned, visibly intoxicated and demanded the gun. There are several guns in the home but Mrs. Hearn, knowing that ammunition was available for only the shotgun, took the firearm from the house and concealed it in the rear of the lot along the fence. Hearn at this time threatened to take his own life and to do bodily harm to the other members of his family. The disturbance continued and Hearn, by the use of a flashlight, found the gun and came into the house with it. Mrs. Hearn fled from the home in her barefeet and went to a nearby home to summon police. Officers Smucker and Lang, hurried to the scene. The younger children in the home were in bed asleep and the older children fled to the upstairs. The daughter, Muriel, crawled on to the porch roof to hide form her father. Between the time the police were summoned and a couple minutes before they arrived the children said they heard one shot at the foot of the stairsteps. Hearn had seated himself on the landing at the foot of the stairsteps, taken off both shoes and the hose on his left foot. Indications were that he place the muzzle of the gun against his throat and held it with his right hand and that he had used his toes on the left foot to discharge the gun. The charge of shot passed completely through his neck and severed the spinal column in its course. Death was instantaneous. The body was turned over to Greene's Funeral Service to be prepared for burial. Hearn was called to the armed service on March 17, 1944, and spent one year overseas in the European Theater. He was called to the 284th Engineer Battalion. He was honorably discharged form the service on October 18, 1945, and arrived at his home on the following day. Since his return home he has been employed on a delivery truck in Huntingdon.
The Daily News, Huntingdon, PA - 4/3/1946
T/5, CO B, 284 ENG'R COMBAT BN. WW2
William H. Hearn
Martin Luther Hearn
Ada K. Ross
Jean Caroline Hearn
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