Homicide Defendant Survives Suicide Attempt

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A suspect in a 2012 Lauderdale County homicide case tried to take his own life Sunday evening.

Harry Wayne Walden was initially charged with manslaughter in the death of Beth Morris last year at the home the two shared in Toomsuba.
But the case was presented to a grand jury as a murder and Walden was indicted for murder.

Police say Walden jumped off the 22nd Avenue bridge Sunday with a rope around his neck. He suffered critical injuries.

Meridian police responded to a call about about a suspicious person about 5 p.m. Sunday. A man was standing on the 22nd Avenue bridge waving at traffic. When police arrived, they discovered he had the rope around his neck.

Police say as the officer approached, the man jumped off the bridge in an attempted suicide. He was pulled up and given CPR, before being taken to a local hospital.

The man's identity was discovered a short time later. Sheriff Billy Sollie says he believes the attempted suicide was directly related to the manslaughter charge against Walden.

"There was a suicide note discovered and given to the deputies with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, indicating that he was having difficulty dealing with the guilt of taking the life and thought this was the best way to end his," said Sollie.

Walden had been out on bond for several months awaiting a trial date.

He was arrested in July 2012, after investigators discovered the body of Morris, who had been reported missing, stuffed in a 50-gallon drum on the property where they lived.

Investigators say they believe Walden killed Morris during an argument, hid her body, then left her car on the side of the road, several miles away, in an attempt to cover up what he had done.

Walden could still face trial for those charges. But it's unknown when a trial might take place, due to these latest developments.

Harry Wayne Walden
Beth Morris