Murder suspect: ‘It was an accident’ after killing cousin

William Palmer Heyser, seen in a 2015 photo, was sentenced on May 27, 2016 to 20 years in prison for killing his cousin in this NE Portland house. (KOIN)
William Palmer Heyser, seen in a 2015 photo, was sentenced on May 27, 2016 to 20 years in prison for killing his cousin in this NE Portland house. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Court records show that a 51-year-old man claimed that shooting and killing his cousin in the head with a shotgun was an accident.

William Palmer Heyser is scheduled to be arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court Monday afternoon. He is charged with one count of murder after being arrested by Portland Police early Saturday morning. The case is being prosecuted by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Unit.

Heyser, originally from Panama City, Florida, has lived in Portland for more than 20 years, according to court records. Police said he shot and killed his cousin 46-year-old Arthur James Palmer III. Investigators said Heyser and Palmer live next door to each other and that they were in an argument in the moments leading up to the shooting.

Palmer died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, police said. Officers recovered a shotgun from the scene.

In court documents filed Monday, Heyser reportedly told court staff that the shooting was “an accident” and that he was drinking alcohol.

Heyser has worked for the same local cab company for 25 years, according to court records.

When reached by phone, Heyser’s brother declined to comment.

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