Monday, December 15, 1975

Officer Paul Harrington - Murdered wife Becky - Detroit PD

Also See:

Officer Paul Harrington - Murdered wife Wanda and son Brian [1999]

Officer Paul Harrington - Murdered wife Becky and daughters Cassandra and Pamela [1975]


Slayings called act of kindness
Ex-cop talks about killing family
October 19, 1999

Paul Harrington had recently lost his job, was behind in rent and was starting to feel the financial pressure of supporting a wife and two children with no income.

So Harrington, a former Detroit policeman, thought it better to kill his wife and 3-year-old son than to see them homeless.

That, Detroit homicide detectives say, is what Harrington told them in a confession.

He told them he borrowed a gun from a friend Thursday, the night before the shooting, and killed Wanda Harrington and 3-year-old Brian early Friday morning. Afterward, he called 911.

When uniformed officers arrived at the home on West Grand Boulevard, Harrington, 53, told them he had killed his family.

"He said he couldn't support them so he had to kill them," said Sgt. Felix Kirk of the Detroit Police Department homicide unit. "He was under pressure trying to take care of his family. He said he didn't want to see them in the street."

Detectives said Harrington told them his last job was at a steel company in Livonia. Harrington was arraigned Saturday in 36th District Court on two counts of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond in the Wayne County Jail.

In 1975, Harrington faced three murder charges -- for the deaths of his wife and their two children in December. Harrington shot Becky, 28, and their daughters, Pamela, 9, and Cassandra, 4. He was fired from the police force after being charged with the triple homicide. In 1977, Recorder's Court Judge Susan Borman found Harrington not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered him committed for psychiatric treatment. Borman could not be reached for comment Monday.

Two months after his treatment began, Harrington was released from the program.

Harrington, a Vietnam veteran with a history of psychological problems, told homicide detectives this week he was under the care of a therapist and had been without some medication for about a week.

A Wayne County assistant prosecutor says last week's slayings were cold-blooded, calling for first-degree-murder charges. "Based on the information that was provided to me by the police department, I felt that was an appropriate charge," said Ralph Elizondo.

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