NY mom sends husband on errand, then kills family

AP News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2011 6:49 PM
NY mom sends husband on errand, then kills family

A western New York woman sent her husband on an errand Wednesday, then used a shotgun to kill her father, her 10-year-old daughter and herself, authorities said. The older man managed to tell sheriff's deputies what had happened just before he died.

Penelope Luddy, 53, had been "extremely distraught" for the past few weeks and may have been undergoing treatment, the Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn said. He declined to elaborate except to say that "the family had been concerned."

Luddy persuaded her 57-year-old husband, Michael, to go visit a sick relative around 8:30 a.m., O'Flynn said.

When he returned just over an hour later, he found his wife dead and his daughter, Alexandra, and father-in-law, 79-year-old Harold Bertram, gravely wounded in the finished basement of their home on a quiet cul-de-sac in a hilly section of Perinton, a Rochester suburb.

Both Bertram and the girl had been shot twice. There were signs of a struggle in the basement, where Bertram had been living for some years, investigators said.

His injuries "were very severe, so he was very limited in the amount (of information) he could provide to us" at the home and in an ambulance, said sheriff's Lt. Michael Fowler. Penelope Luddy did not leave a note.

Bertram told deputies that "she had shot both the daughter and him prior to taking her life," O'Flynn said. They were pronounced dead at the hospital.

It's unclear who owned the 12-gauge shotgun Luddy used. The couple had obtained pistol permits in September, but police were unable to find any record of either buying a gun, O'Flynn said.

No permit would have been required for the shotgun, he said.

Luddy typically drove her daughter, a fifth-grader, to her elementary school in nearby Pittsford shortly after 9 a.m. each morning. Counselors were on hand at the school for students, faculty and staff members.