EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 29, 2013

State closes book on Salem murders, suicide a year later

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
jmackenzie@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM — More than a year after a double murder-suicide rocked a quiet neighborhood, the state attorney general and the state police have concluded Jeffrey Kaznecki, 50, shot his wife and mother in the head, killed the family dog, then killed himself.

The horrific scene unraveled at midday July 31, 2012, when police responded to 33 Wheeler Ave. for a report of a man lying in the driveway.

Police found two people dead, a third near death.

Jeffrey Kaznecki, 50, was in the driveway, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A loaded .38-caliber revolver was in his hand.

Inside, police found his wife, Barbara Kaznecki, 51, dead with two gunshot wounds to the head. They also found Jeffrey Kaznecki’s mother, Shirley Leary, 85, barely clinging to life with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Leary died en route to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.

The family dog was also dead, apparently shot.

The attorney general concluded Jeffrey Kaznecki shot his wife, mother and dog inside the house, before going outside and shooting himself in the head in the driveway of the home they all shared.

The couple’s daughter, Samantha Kaznecki of Raymond, told investigators she had spoken to her parents a day earlier.

“Their daughter reported to investigators that she noticed nothing unusual about the call either in content or in how her parents spoke,” the attorney general reported.

Soon after the incident, officials said the deaths were the result of a double murder/suicide, but didn’t have a motive. In the long-awaited investigation report, released yesterday, there was still no mention of a motive.

“In summary, all of the evidence collected and examined since the incident supports the original hypothesis that Jeffrey Kaznecki used a revolver to shoot Barbara Kaznecki and Shirley Leary, killing them, and then turned on himself the gun that he used to commit the murders and committed suicide,” Attorney General Joseph Foster wrote in his report. “As all the parties to this incident are deceased, this matter will be closed without further investigation or a prosecution.”

Jeffrey Kaznecki was born in Methuen, but grew up and went to school in Salem. He was an electronics technician for IMS Intelligent Manufacturing Solutions, according to his obituary, and “loved to tinker around the house and was an avid reader, especially of Stephen King novels.”

Barbara Kaznecki was born in Manchester, raised in Warner. She “was a very good listener to anyone who needed to talk,” according to her obituary.

Leary was born in Lawrence, but spent most of her life in Salem. She was a member of St. Joseph Church.

After the deaths, neighbors said the the family was “nice” and “quiet,” no one seemed to know them well, although they had lived in the same two-story colonial for decades.

“It is a tragic situation any time anyone decides to take his own life, but obviously even worse when you decide to take other members of your family,” Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said yesterday. “We’re glad the Attorney General’s Office has officially closed the case. It ended as we thought it would.”