APtx 06/23 0249 Minister-Attack
By WALTER C. PUTNAM Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) -- The Rev. Walker Railey said he tried to commit
suicide eight days after his wife was almost strangled to death
out of despair and a lapse of faith in which he "let God down."
"Somehow I grew oblivious to the fact that I didn't have to
bear it by myself," Railey said in an interview Monday. "Had it
not been for some act of grace, we would not be sitting here
"I think I let God down, but God picked me back up."
In the week after his wife was choked into a coma, Railey said
he felt for the first time that he carried a burden too heavy to
Railey said he does not fear an indictment because "when you
are not guilty you don't have to worry about things like that.
"There are people who are playing `Murder She Wrote' with my
life and the lives of my family," he said. "Everyone on the
street corner seems to have some speculation on what happened and
who did it. I didn't do it, but there are times when I feel I'm
the only one in the world that thinks that."
Railey said his attorney had advised him against discussing
details of the April 21 attack on his wife, Margaret.
A month before the attack, Railey began receiving a string of
threatening letters, which later were traced to a typewriter at
the 6,000-member First United Methodist of Dallas, of which he
was senior pastor.
Railey took an overdose of pills May 1, the day police wanted
to question him about what they said were inconsistencies in his
story. Saturday, he left Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital, which
he had checked into several days after his suicide attempt.
Railey, who turns 40 this week, is on leave from the
pastorship of First United Methodist Church.
As he spoke in the living room of his home Monday, he choked
back tears as he looked at the pictures on the mantle of his
children, Ryan, 5, and Megan, 2.
"It's real scary thinking that they may have just one parent,"
Mrs. Railey, 38, has been in a coma at Presbyterian Hospital
since the choking attack and Railey said he did not know if she
would ever recover.
"I'm not a pessimist," he said. "I'm not a blind optimist,
either. The doctors are not very encouraging."
Railey said he has continued to receive threatening, racist
letters similar to the ones that came before the assault on his
He said he had been studying at libraries at Southern
Methodist University and arrived home late to find his wife
unconcious on the garage floor.
Railey said he was too irrational to think how it might look
to others when he took the overdose of tranquilizers.
He said he had been keeping a journal that since has been
interpreted as a suicide note. In it, he said, he had written
that he had reached a crisis of faith and felt as though there
were a demon inside him.
"I don't believe in witchcraft," Railey said. "I don't believe
the devil runs around with a pitchfork trying to undo our lives."
However, he said, sometimes people find themselves in
situations in which "there is a battle going on inside us."
"The battle is the demon," he said.
But he said, "My taking of those drugs was not a premeditated
Railey said that he always believed he would spend the rest of
his life preaching.
"At this point, I don't know if another church is a real
possibility," he said.
"There might be a chance somewhere down the road to teach at a
university, or a seminary," Railey said.
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