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Two Mothers Meet for Western-Style Duel Over Daughters' Fight, One Dies After Shot to Chest

Two mothers were arguing through text messages about a fight their daughters were in on the school bus, and eventually, one suggested they meet for a deadly Wild West-style duel with guns.

Judith Helen Kowaleski, 42, said the argument first started between her and Elizabeth Slagle after their daughters got into a physical confrontation during a bus ride home from school.

Soon after the fight, the two mothers began exchanging texts and calling each other.

During one phone call, Kowaleski handed the phone to her aunt, Barbra Harrington. 

Harrington told Slagle to meet Kowalesk at a designated area between their homes in Bluefield, W.V.

Police are waiting to receive a warrant to read the texts, but they suspect that one of the messages also suggested a duel.

Harrington reportedly advised her niece to arm herself with a gun.

She listened to her aunt and grabbed a handgun before setting off to the destination. The women soon met at the end of some road.

They argued about their children again and, at one point, Slagle reportedly threatened Kowaleski with her gun.

A witness said that Slagle then opted to use a taser on Kowaleski and Harrington.

While being tasered, Kowaleski said that she was just trying to get Slagle off when the gun went off.

It is not known whether Slagle was wounded from the first shot or if it was a second bullet that killed her, as Kowaleski said that she tried to walk away after the taser attack but was then tackled by Slagle. Kowaleski said that at that point, she shot Slagle again.

A report indicates that the shooting happened at about 10 p.m. on March 28.

Witnesses close to the scene saw Kowaleski and Harrington giving Slagle CPR on the roadway.

Slagle was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the chest. Investigators later found the murder weapon at Kowaleski's home.

Kowaleski is being charged with first degree murder and has not set bail.

Sources: WVA, WV Gazette


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