Tragic Berkshire County fire now deemed murder-suicide

March 14, 2019 11:31 PM

SHEFFIELD, Mass. -  The Berkshire County District Attorney now says a tragic fire in Sheffield, Mass. where five people died is being investigated as a murder-suicide.

"At this time, the evidence indicates that Luke Karpinski was the assailant," said Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington.


She would not say if the family was dead before the fire. She said the mother, Justine Wilbur, was found downstairs and the father, Luke Karpinski, and the three kids, ages 3 and 7-year-old twins, were found upstairs.

Folks in Sheffield, Mass. are trying to wrap their head around what happened at 1343 Home Rd. Wednesday morning.

The road was still shut down on Thursday as the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit worked diligently with the State Police Fire and Explosion Unit and the Crime Scene Services section, along with the local fire and police departments.

NewsChannel 13 has learned the mother, Wilbur, was a dedicated and hardworking patent attorney the last two years for Hoffman Warnick Intellectual Property Law Firm on Broadway in Albany. Her employer says they are devastated by the deaths, that Justine talked about her children often, and was able to work at home and the office a few days a week.

Hoffman Warnick released the following statement:

"It is with grief and immeasurable sorrow that we learned of the death of our friend and colleague Justine M. Wilbur, who died with her family yesterday in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

Justine was a talented attorney who joined our team in 2017 after having built a reputation both domestically and internationally as a patent expert. Her work was both meaningful and challenging having encompassed topics ranging from cancer treatment and nanotechnology to advanced materials.

Justine was smart, knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking. She was a devoted mother to her wonderful children, and a true friend to everyone in our firm.

We are each devastated by loss and extraordinary sadness, but are comforted and grateful for having shared Justine’s infectious spirit and energy.

We pray for her family and those who loved her."

NewsChannel 13 is told the children, two of whom are twins and school age, attended the Southern Berkshire Regional School District.


WNYT Staff

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