Couple’s deaths murder, suicide

Original article no longer available

By Jeanne Houck, Post staff reporter

Aug 20, 1997

The deaths of a Carroll County couple earlier this summer was a murder-suicide, investigators have concluded. Eileen Berry, 58, shot her husband, Parker, 61, in bed after he discovered she had secretly dipped into their life savings, officials said Tuesday. Mrs. Berry then lived with the corpse of her husband for six days before deliberately over-dosing on alcohol and pills. Tuesday was the first time officials disclosed how Mrs. Berry died and why she shot her husband. ”I feel like it was over finances,” Carroll County Coroner James Dunn said. ”He was in the process of retiring, and he thought he had a nice amount of money to retire on, and I think he found out that he was in debt.”

Berry had worked 39 years at Owens Construction Co. in Louisville. His wife volunteered for the Meals on Wheels program, which delivers food to elderly people. When they were found dead, neighbors described a well-liked, friendly couple. They lived in a house trailer with a well-kept yard filled with a menagerie of ceramic rabbits, deer, geese and a burro. Dunn declined to say how much money was involved, whether it was the entire amount the Berrys had set aside for Parker Berry’s retirement and what Mrs. Berry did with the money.

Family members and an attorney handling the Berry estate also declined comment. Police found Parker Berry in bed and Mrs. Berry in a hallway near a bathroom when they kicked in the door to the couple’s home in the town of English on July 11. A concerned relative had contacted police because the Berrys had not been seen since they announced plans to visit a relative in Indiana the Fourth of July weekend. An autopsy showed Parker Berry was killed June 30 with a bullet that entered his back and exited his chest, Dunn said. Mrs. Berry committed suicide July 5. She had swallowed a deadly combination of alcohol and anti-depressants, as well as aspirin and Tylenol, the report said. Dunn said he could not elaborate on why Mrs. Berry kept her husband in the dark about her financial transactions. ”She just evidently didn’t want him to know.” Publication date: 08-20-97