Former professional wrestler accused of killing 85-year-old wife in Oregon, police say


Police identified the suspect in a Southeast Portland shooting that left one woman dead as 70-year-old William “Billy Jack” Haynes, a former wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment.

Officers took Haynes into custody after his wife, 85-year-old Janette Becraft, was found dead in their Lents neighborhood home Thursday. William Haynes was taken to the hospital for unrelated injuries and will be booked into jail when he’s released from the hospital, police said. Neighbors said Haynes had suffered a fall earlier in the week.

Police officers swarmed the 6000 block of Southeast 100th Avenue just before 10 a.m. after someone reported a shooting at Haynes’ home. Brilynn Matthieu, who lives with her dad in a separated section of the house that Haynes lives in, said she was asleep when she started hearing voices she didn’t recognize.

“I came out, and there were eight or nine officers with assault rifles at my fence line,” Matthieu said.

Matthieu and her father said they didn’t hear gunfire from the house that morning. The two went to wait at a neighbor’s house, and hours later Matthieu saw Haynes being walked out by police, she said.

“I saw Billy being escorted out,” she said. “I cannot say 100% that he was handcuffed, but he had his arms behind his back.”

Matthieu said she’s known Becraft and Haynes for five years and described them as kind and generous. She occasionally helped take care of Becraft, who had dementia, Matthieu said. She last saw the couple on Tuesday after Haynes had taken a hard fall the night before.

Matthieu said Haynes left the emergency room before receiving treatment because he was worried about his wife.

“He came back and told her, ‘You know I couldn’t be away from you,’” Matthieu said. “And she just rolled her eyes in a cute little way.”

Her father, Thomas Matthieu, said the couple was “inseparable.” He’s still trying to process what happened.

“They adored each other,” Matthieu said. “Everywhere they went they were hand in hand. It’s surreal.”

Matthieu grew close with Haynes over the years, he said, and they often spent time chatting on the porch.

“He’d do anything for anybody,” Matthieu said. “Whatever happened, I don’t think it was done with evil intent.”

Another neighbor, Francisco Vargas, last saw the couple during January’s ice storm. He was cooking food for the neighborhood when the block’s power went out and checked on them and brought them breakfast.

“When I was there and talking with them, everything seemed good,” he said. “They were so nice.”

Vargas said Becraft was a sweet person and let his daughter pick flowers from her garden every summer.

The news of her death shook the neighborhood, Vargas said. “Everybody in the neighborhood knew them,” he said. “It’s totally shocking.”

Haynes wrestled in WWE between 1986 and 1988 as Billy Jack Haynes, sustaining multiple concussions during his time. He filed a class action federal lawsuit against the wrestling company in 2014. The suit was dismissed because it was filed too late. Haynes and other wrestlers appealed to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

Charges against Haynes will be released once he is booked into jail, police said. Becraft’s state ID lists her name as Janette Elaine Becraft, according to police, but mail addressed to her home also had her name listed as Janette Becraft Haynes.

Steve Odry, 55, told The Oregonian/OregonLive he grew up idolizing Billy Jack Haynes. Odry lives in the neighborhood and said Hynes had told him last year that his wife was “pretty sick.”

“He is a sweetheart of a guy,” Odry said. “He was one of my favorite heroes growing up in Portland.”

Lents has transformed from the neighborhood Odry remembers from his youth: a place where kids could leave their bikes outside unattended and walk alone and night without looking over their shoulders.

“It’s not good here,” he said while standing next to a strip of yellow crime scene tape Thursday. “I’d be gone right now if I could.”