Skip to main content

Perham mother and son killed by the man they took into their home, charges say

The mother and son were beaten to death with a pipe wrench.

The 21-year-old man accused of killing a mother and son in west-central Minnesota had been living with them for six weeks.

The charges against William Hillman state he had previously been diagnosed with mental illness, but had stopped taking his medication five months ago.

He allegedly attacked Denise, 42, and Dalton McFadzen, 21, with whom Hillman had been living for six weeks at a trailer in rural Perham.

Another of Denise McFadzen's sons found them early on Tuesday morning with brunt force trauma to their head caused by a pipe wrench.


– Victims of Perham double killing are mother and son.

– Sign up for our daily newsletters

Hillman was trying to flee by car at the time, but called police a short time later saying he had done a "bad thing" and needed to be arrested.

When interviewed by police, he said he'd come to live with the McFadzens six months earlier, but said they were "weird," before later saying: "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I did it."

Hillman told police he'd gone to sleep Monday and woke up when it was still dark. He said "everything went black" and didn't remember what happened next.

He'd previously been arrested for assaulting and threatening to kill his mother and had been committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital for 18 months having been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He stopped taking his meds after going to live with his father in California, but returned home to Minnesota as his father was going to jail.

Prosecutors have charged him with two counts of second degree murder.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.

Eli Hart

6-year-old Eli Hart identified as boy found dead in car trunk

The kindergartner's father was trying to get full custody of his son.


Boy found dead in trunk of car in Mound was kindergartner

"It is horrifying and difficult to process a tragedy of this magnitude, especially in our close-knit community," the superintendent wrote.

Minneapolis police

Man found yelling for help after being shot in Minneapolis

The shooting occurred on the 800 block of Elwood Avenue North at around 9:15 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

Minneapolis North principal says she was fired, district says otherwise

“MPS requires schools to follow protocols in times like that and I did not,” Friestleben said.

Kris Richard Severin

Inmate who escaped Minnesota prison is captured

The inmate escaped Wednesday morning.

Brave New Comedy Workshop in downtown Minneapolis.

Brave New Workshop cancels shows due to COVID-19 cases

The shows were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre.

Austin Retterath

Body of missing U of M student found in Mississippi River

Austin Retterath was last seen alive in the morning hours of May 8.

"Love" mural seen in St. Paul.

Summer mural events to bring together community, shine light on MN artists

The 2022 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival will take place this weekend in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, with ensuing events happening this summer.


Gallery: Remodeled lakeside home in Prior Lake on market for $2.8M

It offers privacy at the end of a dead-end road fronting onto Lower Prior Lake.

golden valley police department

Carjacking outside ice arena in Golden Valley under investigation

Golden Valley PD confirmed it received a report of a carjacking Monday evening.


Victims in Perham double killing identified as mother and son

A 21-year-old man, with a history of mental illness, is in custody.

Bodies of mother, her 3 kids found in Grand Forks home

The mom recently posted that she and her boys were struggling with mental illnesses.

David Ekers

Charges: Man killed his grandmother with wrench, tried to kill mom and sister

The suspect said he didn't want to go back on mental health medication or return to a hospital.

Nicholas Zielinski

Hermantown man charged in killing at Lino Lakes home

Karl Henderson, 22, was found dead in the home by his father.


Charges: Man killed mom-of-3 after she kicked him out of her home

The 27-year-old's body was found in her Frogtown home on Friday.

police lights

Charges: Man used shotgun to kill ex-girlfriend in her Crystal home

The 38-year-old has been charged with 2nd-degree murder.

Man killed in domestic dispute, wife arrested for murder

The 53 year old died in hospital after suffering upper body injuries.

Man arrested in bar fight killed his mother, police believe

The 34-year-old man is in custody with charges pending.