Local News

911 call suggests husband might have planned shooting

Posted July 16, 2010

— A Clayton man who authorities say killed his wife and stepson Tuesday before committing suicide told a neighbor a day earlier that he planned to shoot her and a man he believed to be her boyfriend.

The neighbor’s claim was in a 911 call that Johnston County authorities released Thursday about the shooting deaths of Devinee R. House, 41, and her 14-year-old son, Dakoda Johnson.

Authorities say her husband, William House, shot the two inside their home, at 640 Castleberry Road, in the early hours of Tuesday before turning the gun on himself.

Two other children in the house, ages 7 and 8, in the house apparently awoke several hours later and ran to the neighbor's house for help. A third child, 2, was asleep in the house while Lazlo Bogner talked to a 911 dispatcher.

"He was saying he was going to do it," says Bogner, who identifies himself in the call only as a tenant on the property.

"What he was saying yesterday, ma’am, he was going to shoot her and himself and the boyfriend," Bogner continues. "But the boyfriend – I don’t know if he’s dead or not – but he shot his stepson."

Bogner said Friday that he didn't do anything because he didn't think William House was serious.

Investigators haven't commented on a motive for the shootings but said the Houses were in the process of separating. Deputies had been called to the home four times since April, most recently on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Johnson was buried Friday morning in Benson.

Visitations for Devinee House are Sunday from 5-7 p.m. and Monday at 10-11 a.m. at McLaurin Funeral Home in Clayton. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. Monday.

Visitation for Billy House is Saturday at 10 a.m. at McLaurin Funeral Home in Clayton. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m.


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  • itsmyownopinion Jul 16, 2010

    I agree with you confused in johnston. Well said.

  • confused in johnston Jul 16, 2010

    I can't imagine what it would feel like to have been him or her, but I hope we never become so compassionate that we can accept acts of violence as solutions to personal problems. Above all, I believe that our world would be better if people were held accountable for their behaviors instead of having them excused by the compassionate. All behavior has a purpose, and we all feel the pain of loss and devastation in our lives at one time or another. Not all people, however, resort to permanent punishment and bloodshed. Few would be able to claim they have never felt that there was little left to live for or that life as they have known it has come to an end. Evolve, people! Survive! Stop copping out and deciding how others' lives should end as well. We have a huge lack of self control problem in our country, or am I the only one who has noticed this?

  • twc Jul 16, 2010

    Sit there in your comfortable life and judge all you want but imagine what you would feel if someone separated you from that comfortable life.

    People have different levels of pain and how they handle it.

  • twc Jul 16, 2010

    I don't believe he was mentally ill either. I believe it was more like he decided to give up, to quit. Maybe he valued what he had to death--literally. Maybe he thought he had no future--or no future he wanted to live in. Maybe he was going to have to leave the property. May have been considered by him to be a death sentence--figuratively.

    Hurt can make one hate; hate can make one hurt! Be careful how you hurt; be careful if you hate!

  • confused in johnston Jul 16, 2010

    "You don't know the whole story?" "Mentally ill?"

    I'm with cocker_mom in that there has to be a SERIOUS mitigating circumstance to justify killing your spouse. There is NONE I can think of for taking out the stepson in the process. Mental illness has become a catch-all excuse in this country for anything someone does that seems insane to the majority. However, we seem to forget that those who suffer the most from this man's "mental illness" are the ones whose lives were cut short by it. I doubt he was mentally ill, unless you consider an unwillingness to live through the changes he was about to experience to be a mental illness. Sounds more like a selfish human being to me. Not that I justify his wife's actions. It's not OK to play both ends against the middle. She, in her own way, is responsible for her son's death. We're, as Jurassic Park says, usually so busy worrying about whether or not we can that we don't think about whether or not we should.

  • itsmyownopinion Jul 16, 2010

    This reminds me of the Maxwell tragedy in Fayetteville last year.


  • cocker_mom Jul 16, 2010

    so - help me understand when someone says "you don't know the whole story"...

    Let's think of something about as bad as it can be - was there years of abuse? imprisonment? violence? threats of violence toward him or his children? abuse of children? then PERHAPS I could see killing someone. There's some justification.

    But there is nothing to point to this level of problems in the home.

    So - it's pretty hard to think that anything else we might find out (and no one is perfect and divorces can get messy) - in the "whole story" would really help me understand or find a reason in this double homicide and then suicide.

    Again - he chose to do this. There were MANY other options. Not a lot of forgiveness coming from me here.

  • GWALLY Jul 16, 2010

    Like the lawyers say..."there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth"!!...it is truly sad that someone was murdered and families were destroyed in the process.

  • Adelinthe Jul 16, 2010

    "This mentality of "if I can't have her, no one can" has got to stop."

    I agree.

    It's like we're back in chattel times.

    If someone doesn't want you, move on. You don't want to be with someone who doesn't want you anyway.

    And what's with killing the teenager???

    Am praying for the minor children this beast let wake up to his mess.

    God bless.


  • cocker_mom Jul 16, 2010

    This mentality of "if I can't have her, no one can" has got to stop. Ego, bravado, arrogance - I don't know what it is - but - we have DIVORCE for a reason. Is it that they don't want to pay child support, or alimony? Anger is certainly an issue - but really - kill her and her son? I've been plenty mad - and I've wanted to break something (but what stops me is that I'll just have to clean it up later!) but kill someone? No.

    I found her attorney's comments sad - that even though there had been months of tension - that she felt some relief that it was going to be over. Very sad - apparently, he needed it to end on HIS terms.

    There had to be signs. I feel for their tenant - had he called police - maybe the man would have gotten angry and evicted him - then what? I thought the "didn't want to get involved" was cold, until I better understood the situation.

    Those poor children - to have awakened and found that scene. Prayers the family can help them through.