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Article published January 27, 2013
Domestic dispute ends in couple’s deaths
CENTER TWP — A couple’s sometimes turbulent relationship came to a violent end Saturday when the man gunned down his girlfriend, then committed suicide, authorities said. Responding to a call that shots were fired in the village of Unionville about 1:40 a.m., state police found 45-year-old Sonja Kummer lying dead on the snow-covered stone driveway at her Brown Road trailer home. Investigators suspect Kummer was packing up her belongings and moving out when Dean V. Clawson, 49, opened fired on her with a Remington pump shotgun. She was hit from behind three times in the neck and upper back. Troopers found Kummer’s body just 10 feet from her still idling car and about 15 feet from the front door where she had fled. Police believe that after killing his girlfriend, Clawson walked back into the home, sat down on the living room couch and fired one more time from the same shotgun — ending his life. A month earlier, the couple had apparently committed to marry. “The rumor was they had gotten engaged over Christmas,” said Trooper Gesuele Burello. Butler County Coroner William Young III pronounced Kummer and Clawson dead at the scene. An autopsy found she died of multiple gunshot wounds. He died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Both were shot with a shotgun containing bird or steel shot, said county Deputy Coroner Dennis Trzeciak, who was called to assist Young. Police have ruled the shooting a murder-suicide.