The Livermore Falls man who murdered his estranged wife March 19 first shot her at a family member’s house in Gardiner on Fairview Street, set fire to her mother’s home and returned to kill himself within a two- or three-hour time frame, police said Thursday.

Autumn Bryant

New details provided the clearest picture yet of the killing of 44-year-old Autumn Bryant. But authorities still don’t know why Kenneth Bryant, 48, killed his estranged wife and burned her mother’s home, despite also discovering a three-ring binder in his truck that contained “cryptic” notes, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for Maine Department of Public Safety. While they offered no motive for Kenneth Bryant’s actions, he said, the notes did aid state police and fire marshal investigations.

“We do not know conclusively what set him off and sparked this violence,” McCausland said.

Police went to 16 Fairview St. the morning of March 19 and found Autumn Bryant alive in the garage of the residence and Kenneth Bryant dead in a pickup truck in the driveway. Autumn Bryant, who had been shot in the head, died after being taken from the scene to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. The same morning, a fire destroyed a house at 74 Poppy Lane in Sidney that state police said at the time had “a connection to” the Gardiner shooting.

McCausland released new details of the investigation Thursday, saying state police concluded that Kenneth Bryant drove to Gardiner and shot his wife in the head before going to Sidney to set the Poppy Lane home on fire. After starting the fire, Kenneth Bryant drove back to the Fairview Street home and shot himself. The fire in Sidney was reported around 9:30 a.m. and police responded to a report of the second shooting in Gardiner at 11:21 a.m.

McCausland said state fire marshal’s investigators determined the fire was caused by arson, in part because of the discovery of a three-ring binder in Kenneth Bryant’s truck that contained “cryptic” notes. One note said the cellar door was left unlocked at the home of Autumn Bryant’s mother, Terry Gilman, at 74 Poppy Lane in Sidney. McCausland said fire investigators found that the fire started in the home’s cellar. Authorities also found a gasoline container in Kenneth Bryant’s truck.

“The arson dog was positive about flammable liquids on (Kenneth Bryant’s) clothing,” McCausland added.

Gilman and her husband, Lawrence, were out of state during the fire. Autumn Bryant’s brother, Phil Gullifer III, who owns the home in Gardiner where Autumn Bryant had been staying, was not home during the shootings.

The gun used in the shootings was a handgun owned by Kenneth Bryant. There were not any known restrictions on Kenneth Bryant’s gun use or ownership, nor had any protection orders been filed against him. According to McCausland, the couple was in the process of divorcing. The Kennebec Journal was unable to find any record of divorce proceedings filed in Androscoggin County courts.

Autumn Bryant had started TriPom Chews, a dog treat business, with Kenneth Bryant, but the business had closed. A message on the business’s website cited the end of their marriage in announcing the closure.

“TriPom Chews is no longer in business,” the message states. “Working the long hours we have 7 days a week for 8 years has taken its toll. Our marriage is over and we’re shutting down the business.”

TriPom Chews was named after Autumn Bryant’s three Pomeranians: Xena, Roxy and Riche, who were found unharmed in the Gardiner house.

McCausland said no other incidents were related to the shooting and fire and the investigations of both fire marshal’s representatives and state police are complete, pending some reports being filed.

“Fire marshals have worked closely with state police, and the two agencies have reached these conclusions,” McCausland said.

 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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