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Police say father the shooter in double murder-suicide in North Huntingdon

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Saturday, April 20, 2013, 11:33 a.m.

Investigators have determined a 68-year-old North Huntingdon man fired the shots that killed his wife and son in the family home before turning the gun on himself sometime Tuesday morning, two days before the tragedy was discovered, North Huntingdon police said Saturday morning.

Franklin D. Hutchison fired the fatal shots into the heads of his wife, Hazel, 67, and their son, William R. Hutchison, 47, in their home at 2081 Guffey Road, said North Huntingdon Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Bouldin. The gun used in the shootings was found near Franklin Hutchison's body, Bouldin said.

All three family members died of a single gunshot to the head, Bouldin said. Hazel Hutchison was found upstairs in her bed, their son was found in a hallway and Franklin Hutchison was discovered downstairs, Bouldin said.

The Westmoreland County Coroner's office pronounced all three dead at about 10:43 p.m. Thursday, though they appeared to be dead since Tuesday, the office said.

Results of the toxicology tests will not be available for several weeks, Deputy Coroner Joshua Zappone said.

Police are working to learn who owned the gun and the type of gun used in the shootings, Bouldin said. That weapon was taken by the Westmoreland County Detectives, who assisted in the investigation, Bouldin said.

Although the bodies were not found until Thursday, Bouldin said police believe the shootings occurred Tuesday morning because neighbors told investigators the elder Hutchison always took his garbage out shortly before it was collected on Tuesday mornings, and the cans remained along the street.

As for a motive in the murder-suicide, Bouldin described it as “a family situation.” He did not offer an additional explanation.

Police went to the Hutchison home Thursday night after being notified by Sendell Motors on Route 30 in Hempfield, that William Hutchison had not been to work for a few days, Bouldin said.

The sales manager at Sendell had notified police on Thursday about Hutchison's absence from his job in the dealership's reconditioning department, said Bill Mohler, owner of Sendell Motors. Mohler said Hutchison had not returned any of the manager's voice mails or text messages.

“He was a super nice guy. He was a hard worker and a quiet man,” Mohler said of Hutchison, who had worked at the dealership for the past three years.

Bouldin said the family's other son, Bruce of White Oak had not attempted to contact his parents between Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Private funeral arrangements are being handed by James W. Shirley Funeral Home, North Huntingdon.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or

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