Violent marriage ends in Severn murder-suicide

March 01, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

A Severn man who apparently shot his wife to death and set his home on fire before taking his own life Friday night was having marital problems and growing increasingly violent toward his spouse, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.

Neighbors said they heard frequent arguments at the home in the 1800 block of LaSalle Place, in the Provinces community, but could not provide police with any details about the cause of the arguments.

Willie Louis Montgomery, 34, and his wife, Yolanda Denise Montgomery, 33, rarely ventured outside their two-story home, neighbors said. Even their children, 5-year-old Candice and 9-year-old Tenisha, stayed indoors.

"They weren't real involved with the neighborhood," said Jay Thompson, 25, who lives with his parents down the street. "This is a transient street. There are people like myself who are very outgoing. Then we have people who never come out. Their children never come out."

Candice and Tenisha, who were with a baby sitter when the killings occurred, flew to their grandparents' home in Ohio early yesterday morning. "They were very upset last night," said county police spokesman Officer V. Richard Molloy. "They knew something was wrong."

The baby sitter, whom police did not identify, grew suspicious when the Montgomerys did not pick up the children after supposedly going out for the evening. The baby sitter called a neighbor, who dialed 911 after she walked to the home and smelled smoke.

Firefighters found the two bodies in the upstairs master bedroom shortly after arriving at 9:30 p.m. The fire had burned itself out by the time firefighters arrived, but intense heat and smoke caused $60,000 worth of damage.

Officer Molloy said authorities believe Mrs. Montgomery was shot around 6:30 p.m., because her children called home around that time but were not allowed to speak to their mother. Mrs. Montgomery was shot multiple times in the upper body and head with a 9mm handgun.

After shooting his wife, Officer Molloy said, Mr. Montgomery spread kerosene downstairs and set the carpet on fire. He then went back to the master bedroom and shot himself in the head with a .357 magnum revolver. Both guns were found in the room.

Because all the windows and doors were shut tight, there was not enough oxygen to keep the fire burning. Instead, the kerosene smoldered in the carpet for at least two hours.

Officer Molloy said police did not find a suicide note. He said police are still trying to figure out why Mr. Montgomery apparently tried to burn his house down.

Neighbors said the Montgomerys were both in the military, but no one interviewed knew exactly where they worked.

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