Niagara Gazette

February 27, 2013

Police say couple who died in murder/suicide had troubled relationship

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Falls police say a woman murdered Monday night by her “on-again, off-again” boyfriend never once made a domestic violence complaint against him.

Yet her family and friends told detectives on Tuesday that she feared for her life and had recently changed the locks on the doors to her home to protect herself.

As investigators tried to piece together the reasons for Elizabeth Wilson’s death, they were left with more questions than answers.

“There was no history of domestic violence reported by (Wilson) to Niagara Falls police,” Detective Lt. Mike Trane said on Tuesday. “But talking to her friends and family, they told us there were domestic violence issues (between Wilson and her boyfriend, Peter Daniels) and she was afraid of him.”

Daniels was a competitive bodybuilder and has won several awards. His trainer said in an October Gazette feature that Daniels was “genetically, the most gifted athlete” he’s ever trained. His trainer says on stage, Daniels looks to weigh 200 pounds, but in reality only weighs 150 pounds.

Daniels was also in the Army Reserve. Police say no evidence of drug use has been found at the scene so far.

Trane said Daniels, 37, had three minor arrests, the last in 2003, on his record and none of them involved violence. The detective lieutenant said Daniels was not well known to police.

Still, when police responded to Wilson’s home, they found a bloody scene. Daniels was slumped against a dining room wall, with a pump-action shotgun between his legs.

Wilson, 31, was also lying in the dinning room in a pool of blood.

“They were both on the floor and there was blood everywhere,” Trane said. “Daniels had a gunshot wound to the head from a shotgun.”

An autopsy showed Wilson had been strangled and then her throat was slit.

Investigators said Wilson and Daniels had “an off-and-on relationship over the years.” They said the state of their relationship just before their deaths was not clear.

Daniels had been at Wilson’s home early Monday evening. He left her home, around 7:30 p.m., and went to his mother’s house across 29th Street.

“He briefly spoke to his mother and then went back across the street (to Wilson’s home),” Trane said. “At that time, his mother noticed blood on his shirt and became concerned.”

Daniels’ mother called his brother and a friend and asked them to go to Wilson’s home to check on the couple. Just after making that phone call, Daniels’ mother heard what she described as a “gun shot.”

When Daniels’ brother and his friend arrived a short time later, they went to the rear of Wilson’s house and found the back door open. They entered the home and found the bodies in the dining room.