Police: Elderly wife ‘done’ with husband, beat his head with cast iron skillet

An 83-year-old Bellingham woman beat her husband, also 83, over the head with a cast iron skillet in an alleged assault that cracked the pan in half early Saturday, July 23, according to police.

Linda Jane Houser called police around 12:10 a.m. to report she had beaten her husband with a skillet in their home at 2423 View Ridge Drive, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon.

At the house Linda Houser freely admitted she attacked her husband of 66 years, Milton Houser, because she was done dealing with him, according to police.

She told officers she was “fed up,” and that “she was trying to kill him,” a deputy prosecutor, Evan Jones, said in court on Monday. She accused him of a lifetime of emotional abuse.

A large cast iron skillet — broken down the middle, and covered in blood — was recovered as evidence. Milton Houser needed staples for a bleeding head wound, but he was conscious and able to speak with police at the house.

He told officers they got into an argument, but he denied she hit him.

“I think he was probably trying to look out for his wife,” Scanlon said.

Police arrested Linda Houser on suspicion of assault in the first degree. She has no criminal record. Her bail was set over the weekend at $40,000 by a Municipal Court judge.

On Monday at another bail hearing, Milton Houser asked a Superior Court commissioner to let his wife go home so they could take care of their finances. Commissioner Alfred Heydrich asked Milton Houser if he was concerned for his safety.

“I’m not concerned about my wife’s safety,” Milton Houser replied. “I’m not going to do anything to my wife.”

“I’m asking about your safety, sir,” Heydrich said. “You’re the one who got apparently smacked in the head with an iron skillet.”

“Well, yes,” Milton said. “I did. I guess.”

Heydrich lowered bail to $7,500 and issued a no-contact order between the husband and wife. Over the next 15 minutes Milton Houser seemed confused as he asked how he could talk to his wife, when she would come home and where she would be staying.

“We’ve been married 65 – over 65 years,” Milton Houser said. “She could’ve left, with anybody she wanted to.”

“Look,” Heydrich said. “My mom and dad were married for 65 years. I get it, OK? But this is a very exceptional situation here. She’s accused of a very serious crime: essentially trying to kill you. There seems to be some pretty solid evidence of that, and I would be derelict in my duty if I allowed her to come home to you, under those circumstances.”

Linda Houser, meanwhile, said she understood the no-contact order. If she posts bond she plans to live with a sister in the Puget neighborhood.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb