Death In Franklin Fire Being Investigated As Homicide

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Updated at 6:06 p.m., 12/17/2021

FRANKLIN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A death in a fire at a home in Franklin is being investigated as a homicide.

The fire started Friday morning at a home on Grace Lane. Police had gotten a call from a neighbor about a domestic dispute that started around 7:30 a.m.

"One of the occupants of that dwelling was able to leave 11 Grace Lane and make their way to a neighbor's residence, informing the neighbor that there was an ongoing domestic assault involving her daughter," Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said during a press conference.

When officers got to the scene and tried to go inside, they saw smoke and fire as well as a man later identified as the estranged husband, Brendon Owen of East Bridgewater. He was taken into police custody shortly after.

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Officers also found the victim, identified as Shirley Owen. She was unresponsive and had obvious blunt force trauma, according to Morrissey. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities are investigating the cause of death as well as the cause of the fire.

Police said the family has been known to them for several years, and there is an active restraining order at that residence.

There were two children in the family, but they were not in the home at the time of the incident.

According to a statement from Morrissey, Owen has been ordered by a judge to be held without bail after entering not guilty pleas in Wrentham District Court Friday afternoon. He was charged and pled not guilty to murder home invasion, kidnapping, arson of a dwelling house, and assault and battery causing bodily injury, Morrissey said.

WBZ-TV's Christina Hager reported that Assistant District Attorney said Owen was dressed in all black and had a checklist when he went to his wife's home Friday morning and allegedly killed her, bound her mother who escaped, and set the home on fire.

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