The Murder of Chevy and Betty Sue Christopher
A father takes the life of his own family and himself without explanation
June 28, 2021, will mark the third anniversary of the day that an Athens, Alabama mother’s worst nightmare came true. There was little reason for Nancy Christoper to worry when she sent her 10-year-old son to spend a Friday night with his father and paternal grandmother. The couple had been divorced for two years and custody had long been settled between them. From an outsider’s view, there seemed to be little contention between the parents regarding parenting arrangements.
When Nancy tried to reach someone at her ex’s home the following Saturday morning, she was unable to get an answer by phone. Growing concerned, she drove to the house but was not able to get an answer at the door. That’s when she contacted a family member with a spare key to Christopher's house. They arrived and used their key to gain entry, only to find themselves amid a grisly murder scene.
Inside the home were the deceased bodies of 54-year-old William “Billy” Christopher, 84-year-old Betty Sue Christopher, and 10-year-old Chevy Christopher.
The police were contacted to investigate the scene and quickly determined that Nancy’s ex-husband, Billy Christopher, had shot his own mother and son as they lay sleeping in bed and then turned the gun on himself. No motive for the murder has ever been established, though there is considerable talk among acquaintances about depression and a failure to properly take medications that may have had some bearing on the situation.
Though little more is known about this horrible case and we may never have a clear answer as to what drove a man to kill his own son and mother, the one clear thing is that Chevy’s mother will feel the weight of another year’s passing since this horrible act of domestic gun violence took the life of her precious son, Chevy.
The even sadder part about this situation is that it is far more common than it should be. Our lack of mental health care and attention to domestic violence cases only adds more fuel to an already roaring fire. In fact, the Athens Police Department who investigated this case refused to even label it as a domestic violence case. Is it any wonder that things get worse instead of better?