Bristol man pleads guilty to attempted homicide of estranged wife

A Bristol man who repeatedly stabbed his estranged wife in August pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted homicide and related charges.

Walter Joseph Vandoren Jr., 44, of Bristol Township, appeared before Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley and pleaded guilty to attempted homicide, burglary, criminal trespassing, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, terroristic threats, and criminal mischief.

Sentencing was deferred to a later date.

Bristol Borough police were dispatched at 6 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2020 to the 200 block of Buckley Street after receiving multiple 911 calls of a domestic assault where the victim was screaming for help.

When officers arrived, they found Vandoren armed with a knife and on top of his estranged wife. Officers were able to stop the attack, take Vandoren into custody and recover two knives. The victim was bleeding profusely from multiple stabs and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

The investigation found that the victim was separated from Vandoren for a year, and she had an active Protection from Abuse (PFA) order against him. In the days prior to the attack, Vandoren had been sending angry texts to her for about 4-5 days until she blocked his number.

On Aug. 3, the victim was in her backyard with a friend when Vandoren jumped the fence. The victim and her friend ran inside the house and locked the door, but Vandoren chased them, punched open a window and unlocked the door.

Vandoren continued to chase them, and they tried to escape by climbing to the roof and through an upstairs window. Vandoren went after the friend until the friend fell off the roof and injured himself.  

The victim tried to hide inside her house, but Vandoren eventually returned, pushed in an air conditioning unit, and climbed inside. He was armed with a butcher knife and chased her into the backyard, threatening to kill her, Deputy District Attorney Mary Kate Kohler said in court.

“He came at her at the side of the home as she screamed for help and he wrapped his left arm around her and started stabbing her twice in the side of her stomach with his other arm,” Kohler said.

The victim tried to grab the knife to prevent Vandoren from stabbing her again, but he continued making threats to kill her and then stabbed her in the chest.

Her 8-year-old daughter was present at the time of the attack, Kohler said.

The victim was in critical condition for two weeks and was released after three weeks in the hospital. Her injuries required multiple surgeries and left her without the use of one of her hands.

This case was investigated by the Bristol Borough Police Department and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Mary Kate Kohler.

Media Contact: Manuel Gamiz Jr., 215.348.6298,