Washington County man charged with homicide in wife's shooting

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A Washington County man accused of killing his wife early Friday morning while she slept at their home in Carroll has been arrested and jailed on homicide charges, state police said.

Ronald Powell, 70, awoke about 3 a.m., grabbed a shotgun from underneath his bed, and using a handheld lighting device to illuminate the room, shot his wife while she slept, Trooper Joseph Timms of the state police barracks in Belle Vernon wrote in a criminal complaint.

Leslie Powell, 62, died from a gunshot wound to the head, Coroner Tim Warco said.

Mr. Powell is being held without bail in the Washington County Correctional Facility, said Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 10.

Monongahela and Carroll police responded about 4:15 a.m. to the home in the 1500 block of Walters Street. Police said the emergency call was placed by Mr. Powell after the killing.

The house where Ms. Powell died was the same place the couple had lived for 30-odd years, one neighbor said, and where they wed, on their front porch while friends watched from a decorated yard. The house sits near the end of a deadend road in a quiet neighborhood.

Neighbors were incredulous upon hearing the news and remembered Ms. Powell as a kind woman who took care of her ailing husband and always waved when she drove by.

"This is scary. ... I thought she was joking," said neighbor Gary Reese, describing his reaction when his wife, Tammy, told him the news.

Neighbors said they didn't see the couple much, and that Mr. Powell suffered from health problems. But the longtime neighbor remembered him as peaceful and easygoing, though it had been some time since she'd spoken with him.

The couple was always together, neighbors said, and never appeared to argue or fight.

"They seemed like they really liked one another," the longtime neighbor said. "Where she went, he went. ... I can't believe it."

Ms. Powell worked as an aide at the former Mayview State Hospital in Bridgeville before she retired and once brought patients to her home for a cookout, the neighbor remembered.

Details were still sparse hours after the shooting.

Washington County detectives and Donora police assisted authorities in Monongahela and Carroll. State police in Belle Vernon are leading the investigation.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.


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