US

Lawyer Killed Wife, 3 Children Before Shooting Himself: Police

By Zachary Stieber

A Massachusetts lawyer slaughtered his wife and three children before committing suicide, police said.

Luke Karpinski, 41, killed his wife Justine Wilbur, also 41, in addition to their three children, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said at a press conference on March 14, reported Mass Live.

Police didn’t name the children but sources told the outlet they were Alex and Zoe, both 7, and Marek, 3.

“We are investigating this matter as a murder-suicide. At this time, the evidence indicates that Luke Karpinski was the assailant,” Harrington said.

Officials said Karpinski was a lawyer; he was listed as a patent examiner for the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2017.

Wilbur was listed as a patent attorney at Hoffman Warnick in Albany, New York.

The law firm released a written statement Thursday, March 14, saying Wilbur “built a reputation both domestically and internationally as a patent expert.”

“Justine was smart, knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking. She was a devoted mother to her wonderful children, and a true friend to everyone in our firm,” the firm added.

“We are each devastated by loss and extraordinary sadness, but are comforted and grateful for having shared Justine’s infectious spirit and energy. We pray for her family and those who loved her.”

Firefighters responded to the Sheffield home after a blaze was reported Wednesday morning and found the five bodies inside.

Locals in Dalton said the Wilbur family has long been an integral part of the community, with residents discussing what happened in stores in the town.

“The Wilbur family was very much a part of the town, whether it was through church, or Crane and Co., whatever facet of the community they were involved,” Dalton Select Board Chairman John Bartels Jr., who has lived in the town of just under 7,000 residents his entire life, told the Berkshire Eagle. “They were well-known.”

“I hope that there’s closure,” Bartels said of the investigation. “There are a lot of questions that people have.”

According to Wilbur’s sister, Kristin, the couple started dating while they were both seniors at Wahconah Regional High School. They later moved away to pursue their careers.

Retired Principal Tom Callahan remembered the pair among the 132 students who graduated in 1996 and said Luke Karpinski had stopped in several times over the years.

“That was a happy class. We had a good time with them,” he said. “It’s just, obviously, a tragedy. I feel just awful for them, their whole family.”

Jim Collingwood, 91, who lives not far from the victims’ home on Brush Hill, said that people in the area were flummoxed over what happened.

“They never mixed with anybody that I know of. I guess they were pretty good people,” he told the Boston Globe. “For something to happen like that. They’ve got to do a lot of investigating because things like that just don’t happen.”

He said the family lived in a trailer on the property starting in the summer of 2018 and moved into the house when it was finished just before Christmas.

“It’s just devastating. You never expect it to happen in a small town like ours where everybody is interconnected and close,” added Heather Barney, who works behind the cash register at Silk’s Variety Store in downtown Sheffield. “We feel horrible for the kids. You hear stories of people harming children, and it’s disgusting.”

Luke Karpinski’s father, Paul, said the family had been given little information about what happened.

“We’re not being told anything,” he said in a brief telephone interview.