DA: Accelerant used in Sheffield fire, quadruple murder-suicide

Massachusetts News
Close friend, neighbor remembers Sheffield victims

The fatal fire in Sheffield, Mass., is being investigated as a quadruple murder-suicide, according to the Berkshire County district attorney.

Just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, crews were called to 1343 Home Rd. for a house fire. Four bodies were found in the home.

The next evening, Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington said her office was investigating the fire as a quadruple murder-suicide. The four bodies found in the home were Luke Karpinski and his wife, Justine Wilbur, both 41, and their children, 7-year-old twins and a 3-year-old child.

Harrington said the evidence points to Karpinski as the assailant. 

According to the DA, first responders found Wilbur’s body on the first floor with a traumatic injury that appears to have occurred before the fire began. They later found the bodies of Karpinski and the three children on the upper floor of the home.

Investigators also located evidence of accelerant in different parts of the home, including two 20-pound propane tanks on the upper floor, Harrington said.

Police did not find any evidence of firearms in the home.

Albany law firm Hoffman Warnick confirmed Wilbur was an attorney at the firm. 

“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.”

– The Hoffman Warnick law firm

Southern Berkshire Regional School District Superintendent Beth Regulbuto said in a statement that the district will have additional counselors on hand and will be bringing in help from its community partners.

The five bodies were sent to Boston to undergo autopsies. The causes of death are currently not known.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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