Police: Conn. man killed wife, disabled adult children so they wouldn’t be a burden

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – An 81-year-old man killed his wife and disabled adult children before fatally shooting himself because he was ill and worried the family might become a burden to others, police said Monday.

Officers who discovered the bodies late Saturday in a condominium north of Hartford found a detailed note from Richard C. Brown, saying his wife’s health was also failing and his children had experienced health problems throughout their lives.

“He said he didn’t want the family to be a burden,” Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said Monday. “It wasn’t something he wrote down in five minutes. It was a pretty detailed note, and not an impulsive act.”

Police found Brown’s three-page letter on the dining room table when they discovered the bodies of Brown, his 80-year-old wife, Martha, and their children, 49-year-old Janice and 53-year-old Kenneth.

Brown called a family friend on Saturday night, and that person called 911, police said. Officers discovered that Brown killed himself after making that call.

Martha Brown had been shot in the head while reading on the living room couch, and the children _ both of whom were mentally retarded and had physical disabilities _ were killed in their beds in separate bedrooms, police said.

Brown’s note was straightforward and gave directions on how to reach out-of-state family members to report the deaths, Sferrazza said. It gave no indication that his wife was aware of his plans.

Friends and associates said Brown was a strong advocate for people with mental retardation. He was recovering from recent back surgery.