In the early morning hours of June 5, 1983, a friend of Harold Penland’s, who was known to everyone as Willy Nelson, came to Willy’s residence . This friend found the screen door shut, but the interior door open. After knocking repeatedly, honking his car horn and trying to contact Willy on the phone, this friend entered the home He found Willy and his wife, Laura Penland, shot to death.
Willy’s neighbors told police that he would have many visitors throughout the day and night that would stay for a short period of time. Willy’s house was fortified; it had bars on the windows and doors. There was no sign of forced entry into the house. Given that Willy was security conscious, it is possible that he allowed entry to his residence to someone that he knew. Robbery may have been a motive for the perpetrator.
Investigators believe that numerous people have information about these homicides that could result in a break in the case.
If you have any information regarding this case you are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 503-823-HELP.