Woman sentenced in murder of co-worker at Burlington Coat Factory in Taylor
Waller pleaded guilty to second-degree murder
TAYLOR, Mich. – A 49-year-old woman was sentenced Tuesday morning in the fatal shooting of her co-worker at the Burlington Coat Factory store in Taylor.
Sandra Lynette Waller pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and felony firearms violation Feb. 2. The first-degree murder charge was dismissed.
The shooting happened Oct. 16, 2017, after a dispute between Waller and the victim, a co-worker, Lorraine Faison, inside the Burlington Coat Factory on Eureka Road.
Faison’s sister was the first to speak at the sentencing hearing and told the court they were not on speaking terms but that neither would have the opportunity to apologize.
“She was a wonderful woman and she was a wonderful sister,” she told the court. “I was robbed of growing old with my sister.”
Faison’s daughter called Waller a coward and called the murder senseless.
Watch their statements below:
Waller addressed the family and apologized for her actions.
“I would like to give to Ms. Faisson’s daughter my sincerest, heartfelt apology,” Waller said. “As for me, I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.”
Waller was sentenced to 16 to 40 years for murder and 2 years for the firearms violations.
The shooting happened at about 7:05 a.m. where an argument between the two 49-year-old women began the day before and resumed the following morning before the store opened, police said.
Shouting and name-calling escalated to the point in which Waller allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot Faison in the chest, authorities said.
"The employees were coming in for work," Taylor police Cmdr. Richard Hopper said. "The store was not open to the public, and the employees were just checking in for work at the time."
Faison was rushed to Beaumont Hospital in Taylor, where she was pronounced dead.
Officers arrested Waller and recovered the gun. Police said she was waiting for them when they arrived at the scene.
Details emerge at preliminary hearing
The first witness to take the stand at the preliminary examination was the assistant manager of the Burlington Coat Factory store.
She told the court about the argument that happened the day before the shooting. According to the assistant manager, Waller and Faison got into a dispute about the proper way to scan aisles. Faison told Waller she was doing it wrong. Waller told Faison she couldn’t tell her what to do.
The dispute was brought to the supervisor’s attention and tried separating them to different departments, but ended up sending both women home.
The assistant manager told the court Waller said being moved to another department would make her look weak.
The defense asked about the store’s firearm policies.
First responder discusses arrest
The Taylor police officer who first responded to the scene of the shooting was greeting by Waller at the front door.
He placed Waller under arrest.
Dispatch told the officers that the firearm was in Waller’s waistband. The officer recovered a Glock 23.
The defense asked about Waller’s cooperation with the police. Authorities later found out Waller was a CPL holder.
Officer describes finding body
A second Taylor police officer took the stand and told the court about finding Faisson unresponsive in a storage room.
The officer described the bullet hole found in the storage room and the caliber of the bullet that caused the hole. The caliber matched the Glock 23 found on Waller.
The defense asked about the firearm, but the officer said he never came in contact with the pistol.
Detective takes the stand
Detective Joshua Snyder told the court about surveillance video from the Burlington Coat Factory on the day of the shooting and the day before showing the dispute.
Surveillance video was show to the court showing the firearm being pulled.
The defense argued that Waller should not be charged with first-degree murder and said second-degree murder or manslaughter charges are more appropriate.
The judge disagreed with the defense and Waller was bound over for trial.
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