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Sheffield firefighters approach the Karpinski home on Home Road Wednesday morning March 13 where five people were found to have died.

District Attorney confirms accelerant used in fatal Sheffield fire in which 5 people died; father likely killed wife and children

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By Monday, Mar 18, 2019 News 4

Sheffield — Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington on Monday revealed additional details surrounding the deaths of five family members in their Sheffield home last week.

Killed Wednesday morning (March 13) at 1343 Home Road were Luke Karpinski and his wife, Justine Wilbur, both 41, their 7-year-old twins, Alex and Zoe, and 3-year-old son, Marek.

District Attorney Andrea Harrington said on Monday (March 18) that State Police assigned to the Berkshire DA’s Office are investigating circumstances that indicate Luke Karpinski killed his wife and children and intentionally set fire to the home at around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday before committing suicide.

“This investigation is complex and ongoing, but we have uncovered overwhelming evidence suggesting that Luke Karpinski killed his wife and children prior to committing suicide,” DA Harrington said Monday.

First responders discovered the body of Justine Wilbur on the first floor of the home with a traumatic injury that appears to have occurred prior to the start of the fire. They later found the bodies of the three children and Luke Karpinski on the upper floor of the home. Investigators also located evidence of accelerant in different parts of the home, including two 20-pound propane tanks on the upper floor, DA Harrington said.

Autopsy results were not available on Monday from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Police did not find any evidence of firearms in the home. There is no reason to believe the public is endangered.

Leading the ongoing investigation into the incident are detectives with the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and members of the State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. On Wednesday, several police and fire departments responded to the scene of the fire.


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4 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Linda Baxter says:

    After we mourn this family we should begin a conversation about family and intimate partner violence – a serious and preventable public health problem. How could we have helped this woman and her children? Prevention actions could include teaching safe and healthy relationship skills to our children and engaging community leaders and influencers as allies and supporters of school and community based preventive programs. There is much information available to assist with this.

  2. Jim W. says:

    Still waiting to hear any evidence, let alone “overwhelming evidence”, that rules out a homicide covered up by fire.

    1. Kayemtee says:

      Not sure it is in the interest of investigators to share the nature of the evidence recovered, but there is no reason whatsoever to doubt their conclusion that this was a murder suicide. Also not sure there is any reason to publicly air details which will only inflict even greater pain on any surviving members of the victims’ extended family.
      Begin with the reality that virtually all multiple family homicides like this can be traced back to one parent, generally the father. Statistically, my educated guess is that it is thousands of times more likely for the killer to be a family member who then commits suicide rather than a multiple murder by someone outside the family; the latter are just exceedingly rare while the former are sadly, all too common. I can imagine multiple types of evidence that would conclusively prove the nature of the crime; the nature of the injuries to each victim, the existence of text messages between the parents or pre incident conversations with others suggesting discord, the absence of any conduct by the adult victims which would suggest a motive by others, are just a few of many areas of the investigation which would be conclusive.
      While our prurient interest in knowing possible salacious details is commonplace and understandable, it is unlikely that we would learn anything which might prevent tragedies like this from being repeated. The only exception to this would be the existence of the failure of some government or public service agency which was aware of, and perhaps ignored, clear evidence of serious domestic problems.
      Otherwise, think of the parents and siblings of this poor woman and ask yourself if your desire to know the evidence outweighs inflicting greater pain on them.

  3. Jim W. says:

    So the Berkshire Edge is apparently now censoring comments that point out the obvious holes in the DA’s story.

    To the Censor(s)….before this censorship I was merely curious at the seemingly obvious problems regarding this “murder-suicide”. Now I’m committed. Gonna make this a special project with lots and lots of press.

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