Rostraver woman killed in apparent murder-suicide had reported abuse, court records show
Robert W. Pendleton left his car running with the headlights on just after midnight Monday and, armed with a pistol, walked up to a Monessen home, police said.
The red Kia Sportage was still running when police arrived minutes later to find a bloody scene on the porch of the Alexander Avenue house.
Investigators believe 36-year-old Pendleton shot and killed his wife, Kelly A. Pendleton, 37, before turning the gun on himself.
Monessen police and Westmoreland County detectives are investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide, said Detective Tom Horan.
Court documents indicate Robert Pendleton had a history of physical abuse and making death threats.
“She didn’t deserve what happened to her,” said Bonnie Baird, a neighbor who has known the Pendletons for years.
Kelly Pendleton and Robert Pendleton, both of Rostraver, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Kelly Pendleton was shot multiple times in the abdomen and extremities, according to the Westmoreland County coroner. Her death was ruled a homicide. Robert Pendleton died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the coroner said.
Kelly Pendleton’s brother, Thomas Brookes, 40, was shot in the abdomen during the confrontation, police said. He reportedly is in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Horan referred questions to Monessen police. The police chief was unavailable Monday afternoon.
According to a search warrant affidavit, police were summoned to a shooting at the home, which is owned by Kelly Pendleton’s mother, just after midnight.
Officers found a 12-year-old boy who said, “My dad is shooting my family,” according to the affidavit.
Another Brookes brother, who wasn’t injured, called Westmoreland 911, police said.
On Monday afternoon, yellow caution tape blocked entrance to the tidy brick home with an American flag in the front yard. Neighbors declined to comment.
The couple’s neighbors in Rostraver and court documents indicate that their relationship had turned abusive.
Don Baird and his wife described Kelly Pendleton as a good mother and hard worker, and Robert Pendleton, a FirstEnergy Corp. employee, as distant.
When the Pendletons moved into the house across Plainview Avenue about 14 years ago, they were a “fine, nice young couple,” Don Baird said. “We talked to them, and he used to borrow my tools. She was like a daughter.”
But they noticed the Pendletons’ relationship changed over time. The news of their deaths was a shock, but it wasn’t unexpected, Don Baird said.
“This whole thing had … been in the making for quite a while,” he said. “It’s been a bad situation here for quite a while.”
On Sept. 24, 2013, Kelly Pendleton was granted a temporary protection-from-abuse order, according to court records. She was granted temporary custody of their child. In the order, Kelly Pendleton wrote that her husband had threatened to kill her the previous day and “started to cut up my clothes.”
Her husband previously had hit her head on the floor, pulled her hair, punched her and threatened her life, she wrote.
On Oct. 7, 2013, she withdrew the petition.
Three days later, Robert Pendleton was charged by Rostraver police with simple assault and reckless endangerment after an 8:45 a.m. incident at their home.
Kelly Pendleton told police her husband had “approached her from behind and put a plastic bag over her head” and wrestled her to the ground, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Robert Pendleton was distraught and threatened suicide, police said.
“He … went to the gun safe and began the process of getting a gun. … The victim, fearing for her safety, left as he was doing this,” the complaint states.
Three weeks later, Kelly Pendleton refused to testify at a preliminary hearing, and the charges were dismissed.
No one answered the door at the couple’s home Monday afternoon.
Kelly Pendleton was a cafeteria worker for the Belle Vernon Area School District for the past five years and most recently was stationed at Marion Elementary, said Superintendent John Wilkinson.
“Kelly loved her work, which was evidenced by her positive, dependable attitude,” he said in an email. “She treated the students with respect and therefore gained respect from them.”
She had started coursework to become a certified nursing assistant, the Bairds said.
The couple looked from their porch across the street to the Pendletons’ home and recalled how Kelly loved decorating for holidays. Numerous pumpkins sat in windows and along a pathway to the front door. An inflatable turkey lay in the front yard.
“When Kelly wanted to talk, I’d talk with her,” said Bonnie Baird, who last spoke to her friend about three weeks ago. “She was a very good mother.”
Rhome Funeral Home in Monessen is handling arrangements for Kelly Pendleton. Ferguson Funeral Home in Belle Vernon will handle arrangements for Robert Pendleton.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or [email protected].