FRANKLIN (CBS) - A man has been charged with murder in the death of his estranged wife at her burning home in Franklin Friday morning. Brendon Owen, 47, of East Bridgewater was arraigned in Wrentham District Court and is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to murder, kidnapping, arson, and assault and battery charges.
Police were called to 49-year-old Shirley Owen's house on Grace Lane around 7:30 a.m. after getting a 911 call from her neighbor. Owen's mother had alerted the neighbor about an attack in the home and asked for help.
A prosecutor said that Owen's estranged husband was dressed in all black and had a hammer in his hand before attacking the two women.
Franklin Police showed up about five minutes later and when they went inside they found the house was on fire. They then saw Brendon Owen trying to leave. Norfolk District Michael Morrissey said officers used a Taser to capture him.
They later found Shirley Owen dead from "blunt force trauma" in an area between the burning house and the garage area, according to Morrissey.
Investigators said the couple has two children but they were not home at the time.
Police Chief Thomas Lynch told reporters the family has been known to them for seven years due to domestic incidents in the past and there was an active restraining order out on the home. He was accused of violating a restraining order twice.
In Brendon Owen's pocket, police found three handwritten notes, with one made out to his mother, one to his children, and a checklist that included a lighter and lighter fluid.
He will return to court for a probable cause hearing on January 19.
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