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Ypsilanti Area Man Fatally Stabs Pregnant Wife

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Infant Son Dies Hours After Birth Superior Township Husband Sets House On Fire After Knifing YPSILANTI — A 38-year-old Superior township man faces a first-degree murder charge today after he fatally stabbed his pregnant wife of five months. Gladis 0. (Bill) Weatherford is named in a first-degree murder warrant which Assistant County Prosecutor Booker T. Williams said he will authorize today. Weatherford stabbed his wife with a hunting knife about seven times before setting fire to a room in his father-in-law's home at 9650 Geddes Rd. where they lived. Mrs. Janice Weatherford, 23, was dead on admittance at University Hospital but an emergency operation was performed to save the unborn baby. The infant, a boy, died about 442 hours later, however. Calls It ‘Double Murder Williams charged today that the stabbing "actually was double murder.” A post-mortem autopsy on the baby was performed this morning "just in case" charges of murdering the infant are also brought against Weatherford, Williams said. Although police at first thought Weatherford must have been crazed at the time of the killing, officials now say Weatherford "knew exactly what he was doing." The man, an attendant at Ridgewood Osteopathic Hospital near his home, was termed "completely rational” during two two-hour sessions while giving a formal statement immediately following the incident and again last night. "He described the whole thing in detail, even to how the wounds were inflicted and their location," the prosecutor said. The incident started shortly after 2:30 p.m. yesterday in an apparent argument between Weatherford and his wife, State Police learned from relatives in the house. The dead woman's father, Maxwell D. Black, 51, and his other son-in-law, Chauncey Senter, rushed to the second floor of the Black home after Mrs. Weatherford began screaming. Both men said they were confronted by Weatherford, brandishing the eight-inch hunting knife, and ordered back downstairs. State Police were called at 2:50 p.m., but in the short time lapse before officers arrived, Weatherford had apparently fatally injured his wife and set fire to an upstairs room. Sgt. John J. (Mickey) Mongiat, commander of the Ypsilanti post, was driving along Geddes Rd. several miles west. He took the radioed assignment and rushed to the scene, to be met by Black standing in the road carrying a shotgun. Mongiat, told “he's up there and he's set fire to the house," assumed Weatherford was alone on the second floor, probably armed. He raced upstairs and, through heavy smoke, saw Weatherford bending over his wife's body at the entrance to an attic room leading off the hallway. Weatherford offered little resistance as the veteran trooper took him downstairs. Mrs. Weatherford walked downstairs before collapsing. The woman was evidently first stabbed in the immediate area of the heart, officers said. This wound proved fatal, although she was also stabbed four times in one arm and had two wounds in the other arm. Jumped From Car Weatherford was injured slightly Monday morning while his father-in-law was driving him home from Ridgewood Hospital. Black and police say Weatherford jumped from the car as it moved along Geddes Rd. about 50 miles per hour. This summer the former Tennessee man received a jail sentence in Toledo, O., after his car was in an accident and he was arrested for drunken driving. Two trucks from the Superior Township Fire Department extinguished the fire in the attic room before it spread or caused any real property damage. Weatherford admitted in a statement that he set fire to bed clothing with his cigarette lighter. Officers tended to discount today Weatherford's vague charges that "they were trying to kill me when asked for his motive for the stabbing. He evidently was referring to his wife and her parents.