The Associated Press reports that a man accused of killing his ex-wife with an ax has been indicted on murder charges in Chalmette, Louisiana.
Mark Owens, 56, is accused of attacking Kimberly Owens, 48, in September with an ax as she left home for work in September. Police searched for Owens shortly after Kimberly’s body was discovered on the street, and he turned himself in to police soon after the search began, says NOLA.com.
Police say that Kimberly was leaving home for work around 8:00 a.m. and Owens was waiting outside her home before fatally attacking her. NOLA.com reports that Kimberly’s mother and at least one other witness saw the crime and called authorities. The witnesses named Owens as the attacker and he was promptly arrested for second-degree murder.
Authorities reported that Kimberly’s mother heard her screaming and came out of the house, begging Owens to stop before calling authorities. Two other witnesses also called the police about the attack. One was a school bus driver. Although police don’t think the children on the bus witnessed the attack themselves, counselors were sent to meet with them and the bus driver, and parents were notified, reports NOLA.com.
The Sheriff’s Office believes Owens may have been hiding under Kimberly’s house while waiting for her. The murder weapon, a long-handled ax, was recovered at the crime scene.
Owens formerly worked for the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office in the 1990s as a corrections officer.
The couple were divorced in 2014 according to court records, and had an adult son. Owens was the subject of a restraining order stemming from an assault charge in 2015, barring him from contacting Kimberly. The order was still in effect at the time of her death.
In 2015, Owens reportedly grabbed Kimberly from her home and had a weapon that he threatened to harm himself with. The SWAT team responded to the call, Owens was taken from the house, arrested and charged with false imprisonment and battery. The resulting restraining order prevented Owens from owning a firearm.
To date, the assault case remains open. Owens pleaded not guilty to the charges and entered a diversion program with the approval of the District Attorney’s office. There are no records indicating he violated the restraining order prior to killing Kimberly with an ax or that he did not meet requirements set forth by the diversion program.
*Photo credit to SBPSO/NOLA.com