SMYRNA — The Delaware State Police Homicide Unit have arrested a 66-year-old Clayton man in the double homicide of his estranged wife and mother-in-law that occurred east of Smyrna Sunday morning.
Troopers were called to the residence at 334 Hawkey Branch Road around 7:42 a.m. for a report of a man allegedly stabbing a female outside the home, Delawarer State Police Master Cpl Gary Fournier said.
Troopers responded to the scene and found an adult female victim deceased in the driveway. Another adult female victim was found inside a detached garage on the property also deceased. The suspect initially fled that scene but was taken into custody shortly thereafter, Cpl. Fournier said.
Preliminary investigation and witness interviews revealed that Gilbert E. Rochester, 66, of Clayton, parked his silver Chevrolet Caprice approximately one mile east of the residence in a field entrance off Hawkey Branch Road and then walked to the house where he waited outside, police said.
Sometime between 7:20 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., Louise M. Cavuto Carrow, 80, exited her home and began walking to the detached garage in order to leave for church. It is at that time Mr. Rochester allegedly assaulted Ms. Carrow causing her death. Shortly after that, Mary C. Lane, 56, also exited the home and began walking to the garage when she was allegedly physically attacked by Mr. Rochester in the driveway and subsequently stabbed to death before he fled the vicinity of the crime on foot. Nearby neighbors heard screams coming from the area of the home, and upon exiting their residence, witnessed the attack on Ms. Lane, all while calling 9-1-1, Cpl Founier said.
Mr. Rochester and Ms. Lane were in the process of a divorce and she had residency at the Hawkey Branch Road address where she lived with her mother, Ms. Carrow, and her 87-year-old step-father, Cpl. Founier said.
Responding troopers and an officer from the Clayton Police Department located the two deceased victims and soon found Mr. Rochester hiding in some nearby woods on the property. Upon seeing the knife still in his possession and not heading the commands to drop it, the Clayton police officer temporarily incapacitated Mr. Rochester by using a departmentally issued Taser.
Mr. Rochester was transported by EMS to an area hospital where he received medical treatment from the use of the (Taser) and released. He was then transported to Troop 3 in Camden where he was formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. He was arraigned at JP7 and is being held without bail at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.
Ms. Carrow and Ms. Lane were removed from the scene by the Delaware Division of Forensic Science who will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause and manner of their death.