Police: Dauphin County murder-suicide a ‘premeditated’ incident

SUSQUEHANNA TWP., Dauphin County -- Investigators say Julian Kearn, 50, shot and killed his estranged wife, Kelly Kern, before turning the gun on himself in the parking lot of a Regal Cinemas on Caughey Drive Monday night.

Susquehanna Township Police are calling the situation a "premeditated" murder suicide, saying Kearn made his intent known online before luring the victim to the parking lot.

"It's clear that when he took the action, he was acting intentionally," said Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo.

Julie Bancroft with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence said generally, it can be very difficult to know if someone is experiencing domestic violence in a relationship.

“There are so many things that make it difficult for someone to try to safely exit a relationship," said Bancroft.

Bancroft said signs of an abusive relationship can include:

  • A sociable individual suddenly retreating from activities
  • A person putting their partner down in public
  • An individual begins to dress differently in an attempt to cover possible wounds
  • Visible wounds in new or random places

Bancroft explained that intervening in an abusive relationship can be dangerous for both the victim and the person trying to help.

She said they recommend offering support to the victim while also referring them of available help.

She said it's important to let a victim make the decisions on how to help because it's "not easy" for someone to simply leave an abusive relationship.

“They may have experienced their credit being ruined by the abuser. Also, limiting their access to financial resources so they literally may not have any resources available to them to leave the situation," said Bancroft.

Julian Kearn pled guilty to a harassment charge in May in Cumberland County.

At the time of publication, FOX43 could not confirm if it was related to his estranged wife.

For more information on resources available in domestic violence situations, follow the link here.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence operates 59 local programs serving all 67 commonwealth counties.

According to the PCADV, in 2018, 122 victims were killed in domestic violence-related incidents in Pennsylvania.

There were also 59 perpetrator deaths in the commonwealth last year, including 51 suicides.

The PCADV also reports there were 27 Intimate Partner murder-suicides in the commonwealth in 2018.

There was one domestic violence-related death in Dauphin County in all of 2018.

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