A Hitman Tried To Kill This ER Nurse - She Killed Him Instead
By Angelina Gibson, Nurse.org Staff Writer
“Does she need an ambulance?” asked the 911 dispatcher. “No, she’s a nurse. She says to call an ambulance for the guy. He may be dead," responded the voice on the other end.
In September 2006, Susan Walters (formerly known as Susan Kuhnhausen), was a 51-year-old ER nurse in Portland, OR. The man lying dead in her home was hired hit man, Edward Haffey. Haffey had been hired for $50,000 to murder Susan Walters by her husband, Mike Kuhnhausen.
She survived the attack, he didn’t.
As an emergency room nurse for over 30 years, Walters was no stranger to self-defense.
In fact, the only words her attacker said to her were, "you are strong."
An Unhappy Marriage Turns To Revenge
The Kuhnhausens had been unhappily married for 17 years. Walters endured years of mental and emotional abuse by her husband. Then, in 2006, she finally gained the courage to end the marriage and kicked Kuhnhausen out of their home.
Shortly after the marriage ended, Mr. Kuhnhausen was laid off from his janitorial job. With few options left, he decided he wanted their second home for himself. He knew Walters wouldn't easily give up the home and conspired a plan to have her murdered.
Kuhnhausen had met Edward Haffey at work. Haffey, a convicted murderer with a lengthy criminal history, agreed to kill Walters in exchange for $50,000.
On the evening of the attack, Walters arrived home from work and immediately noticed her bedroom was abnormally dark. Within moments Haffey appeared and lunged at her with a hammer.
The first blow hit Walters in the temple. She fought back.
For almost 15 minutes the two grappled. Walters was able to restrain the man multiple times and each time attempted to get information about who had hired him. Each time, he continued to viciously attack her with the hammer.
Eventually, she was able to restrain and strangle the man to death.
At the time of the attack, Walters' neighbor Deanna Hall said, "anybody that could be the type of nurse she has been for so long says a lot about her compassion and love. But, she knows when to put her foot down. And, she doesn't take crap from anybody."
Mike Kuhnhausen was charged with solicitation of aggravated murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In 2008, Susan Walters won a $1 million civil court case against her estranged husband.
Kuhnhausen died in prison of prostate cancer 6 months prior to his release date.
Victim Turned Advocate
Today, Susan Walters is an advocate and focuses on developing a web-based portal for crime victims. The web portal provides a protected, single point for victims to receive updates about their offenders.
“Surviving the event itself is difficult. Surviving a prolonged and protracted criminal justice journey is also equally hard,” said Walters.