A two-decade family feud came to a violent end Friday when a man shot dead the two home invaders that killed his wife and son, not knowing the assailants included his long-estranged daughter. Authorities said today that it appears Josephine and Jeffrey Ruckinger planned to murder her family at their rural home in Ashville, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles southwest of State College. "They parked at the bottom of a long driveway, and walked up, heavily armed," says Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan.
John Frew, his wife Roberta, and their son John Jr., 47, had just returned from dinner out, and were watching TV in the living room of the white mobile home when there was a knock at the door, authorities say. Police say Roberta, 64, answered the door, and cried out something like "Oh my God, they have guns!" before her daughter shot her at point-blank range. Jeffrey Ruckinger shot John Jr. multiple times in the chest, killing him. The elder Frew, 67, grabbed a .22 revolver and came out from the bedroom to find the daughter he didn't initially recognize pointing the shotgun at him. Frew fired once, hitting her in the head, then turned and exchanged fire with Jeffrey Ruckinger, killing him. He then called police. A relative says that when Josephine was about 20, she and a boyfriend trashed her parents' home and stole items including a pistol, then fled to Pittsburgh; after that, "more or less, they disowned her." (Read more murder stories.)