Written by J. Patrick Eaken
Saturday, 13 September 2008 07:13
Julia L. “Jewel” Bedford played semi-professional football for the Toledo Spitfire, umpired and played softball, and was often seen at area festivals.
Her life came to an end Monday, September 8, allegedly at the hands of her significant other.
Bedford was fatally stabbed by her housemate of 20 years, Larry Adler, Walbridge police believe. The couple resided at 209 Grove Street along with her 17-year-old son.
According to police, Bedford, 41, and Adler, 61, began arguing, which caused commotion heard by neighbors. She was stabbed near the entrance of her home, walked to the street and collapsed.
In the street, 15-year-old Whitney Richards saw the victim lying in the street bleeding. Bedford was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Police say Adler immediately went to a neighbor’s residence and told them he had stabbed Adler. Soon after, Walbridge, Northwood, and Lake Township police arrived at the scene and the suspect was taken into custody.
“I know there were rumors that he was roaming around at the school after it happened, but our officer was right on the scene,” said Walbridge Police Sergeant Mathew Simon, who leads the investigation.
“I think (police) were there while the call was being dispatched. I mean he had him in handcuffs right away. There was an attempt at CPR, and then police were there to get the situation under control.”
Adler, 61, is being charged with second degree murder and was arraigned in Perrysburg Municipal Court Tuesday via television hook-up. He is being held in Wood County Jail on $1 million bond.
Sgt. Simon believes the factor contributing to the domestic violence was alcohol abuse. Police say they have the knife that was involved for evidence.
“They got along pretty well. Everybody has said they loved each other,” said Sgt. Simon. “I think it was alcohol. He was known to abuse alcohol severely. That could have been a contributing factor. We don’t know for sure.”
Sgt. Simon believes there is a chance trial can be avoided and this is an open-and-shut case. That will depend in part on the defendant’s plea.
“It’s been a long three days, I’ll tell you that much,” Sgt. Simon said on Thursday. “I hope we can push this through.”
Walbridge mayor Dan Wilczynski, who was in Alaska on business, admitted that when hearing of the incident he was stunned. He said Bedford had a reputation for being friendly in the village.
“I did not know (the family). I knew the name, had seen the picture, and I knew the woman when she used to work at the 7-11,” Mayor Wilczynski said. “I didn’t really know them personally.”
The mayor doesn’t recall any other recent homicides in Walbridge, and because of this incident he called for a better effort to prevent domestic violence.
“(Murder) doesn’t happen in a lot of small towns,” Wilczynski added. “One of the things I’ve noticed, ever since I’ve become mayor, people don’t realize how much domestic violence is really out there in Walbridge until you either get involved in a police force or some civic government position like this.
“It’s certainly something we need to keep the attention on, keep the focus on, and keep trying to move in a direction that gets these issues out to where they can be dealt with. It’s one of the biggest issues for me. I don’t know how to do that as a small-town mayor, but certainly we are going to work on it. It may just be creating a new awareness level.”