CRIME

Man Kills Wife And Self With Chainsaw In Suburban Philadelphia: Prosecutor

04/01/2015 06:18 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015

(Updates with district attorney and coroner comments)

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 1 (Reuters) - A suburban Philadelphia man killed his wife with a chain saw and then turned the machine on himself in a grisly murder-suicide, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Police were called to a home in affluent Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday afternoon after the couple's 14-year-old son, who had been outside playing basketball, came home and found the bloody bodies.

"A chain saw was recovered at the scene," said Kevin Steele, first assistant district attorney for Montgomery County. "It's clear that it was used at least in part."

Dr. Walter Hofman, the Montgomery County coroner, said autopsies showed that Nicole Peppelman, 43, died at the hands of her husband, Christopher Peppelman, 48, of a "sharp force injury of the abdomen" aggravated by stab wounds and "throttling of the neck."

The husband then committed suicide, Hofman said, dying of "gaping, sharp force injuries of the abdomen and right thigh."

In both deaths, Steele said, the chain saw did the main damage.

When the son called 911, he reported that his parents appeared to be dead from chain saw cuts. The couple had three children, none of whom were home when the crime occurred.

Neighbors told local media that the couple had been married for 20 years but had been having marital difficulties recently.

Christopher Peppelman was a building contractor whose office was in his home in Huntingdon Valley. (Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Frank McGurty and Eric Walsh)

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