APtx 06/23 0249 Minister-Attack By WALTER C. PUTNAM Associated Press Writer DALLAS (AP) --

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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 today. "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 bear. 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," he said. 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 wife. 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 act." 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. Last page !


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