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Billy Jack Haynes, former pro wrestler, accused in shooting death of wife

PORTLAND, Ore. — Former professional wrestler Billy Jack Haynes was arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday in the shooting death of his wife in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, authorities said.

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Haynes, 70, whose real name is William Albert Haynes, wrestled professionally from 1982 to 1986 in Florida, the Pacific Northwest and the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE).

He is accused of killing his wife, Janette Becraft, 85, on Thursday, and then having an hourslong standoff with police in the Lents neighborhood of Portland, the Willamette Week reported.

Portland police responded to a residence at 9:52 a.m. PST in the 6000 block of SE 100th Avenue, according to KATU-TV.

Officers determined that the suspect, later identified as Haynes, was inside the home and they requested assistance from the Special Emergency Reaction Team and Crisis Negotiation Team, the television station reported.

Haynes eventually surrendered to authorities and is in police custody at an area hospital, according to the Willamette Week. According to police, Haynes will be booked into jail and formally charged after his release from the hospital, the newspaper reported.

The man inside the home eventually surrendered to police. That man, who police now say is Haynes, is in police custody at a local hospital for a medical condition unrelated to the shooting, KPTV reported. Police say he’ll be booked in jail and formally charged in the coming days.

As a wrestler, Haynes adopted the “Billy Jack” persona and signature hat from the 1971 movie of the same name that starred Tom Laughlin. According to IMDb.com, the movie involved a former Green Beret hapkido expert who “saves wild horses from being slaughtered for dog food and helps protect a desert ‘freedom school’ for runaways.”

Haynes generally wrestled as a “babyface” in Florida and the Pacific Northwest. Inevitably, he turned “heel” in 1990, generating feuds with several wrestlers.

Haynes competed at WrestleMania III on March 29, 1987, at the Pontiac Silverdome, according to the WWE website. His Full Nelson Challenge Match against Hercules Hernandez ended in a double countout.

After retiring from the ring, Haynes remained in the Portland area, opening a gym and a regional wrestling promotion, the Willamette Week reported. In 2014 he filed a class action lawsuit against the WWE, The Oregonian reported. He alleged that the wrestling company failed to protect and educate its wrestlers about serious head injuries, according to the newspaper.

The lawsuit was unsuccessful, according to the Willamette Week.

He retired from the ring in the early 1990s and hung around Portland, a hulking figure slowed by chronic knee injuries and, he would later allege in an unsuccessful lawsuit against the WWF, head injuries from repeated blows in the ring.

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