After killing hit man, wife fights for victims

Susan Walters killed the hit man her ex-husband hired to kill her

Susan Walters, April 6, 2017 (KOIN)
Susan Walters, April 6, 2017 (KOIN)


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On September 7, 2007, Susan Walters confronted her ex-husband in court, exactly one year and a day after her life changed forever.

Her ex-husband, Michael Kuhnhausen, hired a hit man to kill her. The attacker, Ed Haffey, came at Susan with a hammer inside her home. But she wrestled the hammer from him, hit him in the head with it multiple times and strangled him.

On the day Kuhnhausen was sentenced, Susan showed photos of the would-be murder weapon, her bruised face — and Haffey’s body. Then she spoke to her ex-husband.

“I became a crime victim in September 2006,” Walters said that day in court. “You took advantage of a desperate person to do a desperate thing that you were too cowardly to do yourself. If I ever, ever believed that you deserved to be dead I would at least have the balls to kill you myself.”

Susan Walters addressed her ex-husband Michael Kuhnhausen in 2007 while he was on trial for hiring a hit man to kill her (KOIN, file)
Susan Walters addressed her ex-husband Michael Kuhnhausen in 2007 while he was on trial for hiring a hit man to kill her (KOIN, file)

Now, 10 years later, Susan Walters is not focused on the attack but on finding a way to help other crime victims.

Multnomah County has the largest pool of crime victims in Oregon. The county’s Department of Community Justice is working closely with the District Attorney’s office and the Department of Corrections to come up with a web-based portal for crime victims.

Organizers hope the website will be fully operational this fall. It will be a centralized locaiton for crime victims to get resources before trial and for years after the perpetrator is convicted. It’s designed to help them with support groups and restitution.

“My belief is that this will be a roadmap both for victims and for the people that serve them,” Walters said Thursday. “Surviving the event itself is difficult. Surviving a prolonged and protracted criminal justice journey is also equally hard.”

It’s believed this will be the first program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.