Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homer M. Walters -- He Lost It at the Movies

Walters and Lillian Tyler, both 32, played together in the orchestra at the Loew's Park Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio.  During his 12-year courtship of Tyler, Walters spent $15,000 on the organist in an unsuccessful bid to marry her.  In early March 1925, the musician struck the woman when he caught her entertaining a young college boy in her apartment.  He was arrested for assault and battery, but released after Tyler refused to testify against him.  On March 25, 1925, the frightened woman phoned authorities to report Walters had repeatedly threatened to kill her.  At a joint meeting before the police prosecutor, Lillian Tyler intimated to her frustrated suitor that she "might" place him on probation and, if he behaved himself, possibly later marry him.  At 5:30 P.M. on March 28, 1925, Tyler was seated alone in the front row of the Loew's Park Theatre during a non-musical interlude of the comedy film, The Burglar.  Walters, who recently quit the orchestra to become the treasurer of his father's coal company, sat down beside her.  Although an estimated 200 patrons were in the theatre, no one was seated in the next ten rows behind the couple.  During an action scene in the film punctuated by some fifty sound effect shots, Walters produced a revolver and pumped four rounds into Tyler's cheek, temple, neck, and eye.  Afterwards, he shot himself in the head.  Unaware the pistol reports they heard were not part of the movie, the audience laughed and applauded as two people lay dead in the front row.  Their bodies, Tyler's slumped in her seat and Walters' splayed on the floor at her feet, were discovered by an usher ten minutes later.

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