Man thinks his wife and disabled daughter can’t cope with homelessness so he kills them with an axe

CENTENNIAL, CO – A Colorado jury handed down a verdict of murder in the first degree to 83-year-old Reginald MacLaren on Friday for the killing of his wife, 70, and paraplegic daughter, 35. In a grim case that has shocked the community, the senior was convicted on multiple charges, including the dismemberment of his family members.

Prosecutors painted a grisly picture of premeditation and brutality, detailing how MacLaren used an ax to end the lives of his wife Bethany and daughter Ruth Jennifer, later dismembering them with a saw. Englewood police summoned to the MacLaren residence on the evening of March 25, discovered the dismembered remains in trash cans within the home’s living room.

In a chilling account, the investigation revealed that MacLaren had planned the murders in advance, purchasing specific tools and containers from a local Home Depot a week prior. The prosecution underscored the calculated nature of the crime, stating MacLaren executed a “gruesome and senseless ambush” on his unsuspecting family.

Adjudication for MacLaren will take place on July 11, with a mandate for a life sentence awaiting him. Prosecutors reflected on the terror likely experienced by the victims in their last moments, expressing gratitude to the jury for delivering a verdict that they described as just and appropriate.

The case, which involved the collaborative efforts of the Englewood Police Department, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit, and the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office, shed light on the dire circumstances that preceded the murders. MacLaren claimed he acted out of a perverse desire to prevent his family from facing homelessness, according to a statement given to law enforcement following his arrest.

Hours after making an emergency call to police, MacLaren confessed, detailing the step-by-step execution of his plan. He cited financial despair as the impetus for his actions, explaining that his dismissal from his job left him with no funds.

The aftermath of this tragedy left seasoned detectives describing the scene as one of the worst they had encountered. The department’s Division Chief, Tracy Jones, acknowledged the toll such horrific incidents take on law enforcement officials and the broader community.

With the trial concluded, the focus now shifts to the sentencing phase, with the community and surviving family members awaiting the final judicial response to these violent and shocking crimes.