Couple in Murder-Suicide Was to Sign Divorce Papers That Day

Police say a man killed his wife and then himself after setting fire to her Maryland apartment building on the day they were to sign divorce papers.

The fire Monday in Brunswick caused an estimated $400,000 in damage to the apartment house and two neighboring buildings, displacing 22 residents, Frederick County Sheriff's Deputy First Class Amanda Hatcher said.

The sheriff's office in neighboring Washington County, where the bodies were found, said autopsies by the state medical examiner's office concluded 27-year-old Kelly Hamilton's death was a homicide, and that her husband Daniel Shortt, 44, killed himself. There are no other suspects in Hamilton's death, Deputy First Class Carly Hose said.

Both people were shot. Their bodies and a handgun registered to Shortt were found in his car about 15 minutes after the fire was reported. Investigators also found partly full cans of gasoline in the trunk. They said there was evidence an accelerant was used to start the fire.

Shortt had picked up Hamilton at a Brunswick convenience store around 7 a.m. Monday, Hatcher said. He was seen about an hour later running from the rear of the apartment building as smoke appeared, she said.

Shortt's car had West Virginia tags but police said he wasn't living at the address on the car's registration.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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