State police investigating Lawrence County murder-suicide
A Lawrence County man shot his stepfather to death and then pointed his gun at his mother before shooting and killing himself late Friday, state police said.
Authorities determined the deaths of Justin E. Burnett, 29, and Douglas C. Weingartner, 60, both of Wayne, were the result of a murder-suicide, police Lt. Eric Hermick said on Saturday.
Burnett and his stepfather hadn't had a good relationship since the late 1990s, Burnett's mother, Jo Ann Wein-gartner, told police, Hermick said.
Jo Ann Weingartner picked her son up in Ellwood City about 10 p.m. Friday, Hermick said. Burnett was believed to have been at a bar. His car was equipped with an interlock device, which prevents someone from driving when intoxicated. Court records show that Burnett had two drunken-driving convictions from 2012.
When the two arrived home, Hermick said, Douglas Weingartner briefly argued with Burnett about his drinking before going upstairs to his bedroom.
Burnett took his .40-caliber handgun and walked into Weingartner's bedroom and shot him four times, Hermick said.
“He just basically assassinated him,” Hermick said. “(Weingartner) didn't try to move or defend himself.”
Jo Ann Weingartner, who was downstairs, thought that her son was banging on the bedroom door, not realizing she was hearing gunshots, Hermick said, until he returned downstairs holding the gun.
After telling her, “I just killed Doug,” Hermick said, Burnett pointed the gun at his mother.
Burnett then shot himself, Hermick said. Jo Ann Weingartner was not injured but was “visibly traumatized” when police arrived, police said. The Lawrence County Coroner's Office pronounced the two men dead at the scene.
Hermick said police hadn't previously responded to emergency calls at the Weingartner home.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.