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DA: Murder warrant issued for Gardner man wanted for the shooting death of his wife

GARDNER, Mass. — A murder warrant was issued Wednesday for Aaron Pennington, the Gardner man accused of killing his wife, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.

Authorities concluded search for the fourth straight day Wednesday after Pennington, 33, is wanted for allegedly murdering his wife, 30-year-old Breanne Pennington inside their 42 Cherry St. home. State police say they don’t plan a widespread ground search Thursday, barring a new development.

Gardner Police were called to the scene on Sunday around 9 a.m. after the couple’s four children, ages 2, 5, 7, and 9, left the home and went to a neighbor’s house reporting ‘they could not find their father and that their mother was in her bedroom crying,’ according to application for the warrant.

When police arrived, they found Breanne Pennington lying in bed in an upstairs bedroom “with obvious signs of death from an apparent gunshot wound to the head,” according to the paperwork released Wednesday for the warrant.

Investigators did not locate a firearm in the home, but they found three spent shell casings in the bedroom, according to police.

Breanne Pennington kept a firearm at the residence for her protection, police wrote. However, neither she nor her husband, Aaron, were licensed to carry a firearm in Massachusetts.

During a search of Aaron Pennington’s cell phone on Tuesday, investigators say they discovered a written note from Saturday evening which stated; “Don’t say anything. Be quite (sic). If she wakes up just say you’re getting nasal spray. Get on side of bed, very close proximity to head. Put hole in her head.”

It was determined that Pennington had left his home around 9 a.m. on Sunday in his white 2013 BMW Model 320, which was spotted Monday evening by a hunter, about 1,500 feet down a wooded trail off Kenton Street near Camp Collier in Gardner.

Members of the State Police Special Response Team, the State Police Tactical Operations Response Team, the Violent Fugitives Apprehension Section, state police K9 units, and Gardner and Ashburnham police continue scouring a vast, 400-acre tract of woods to try to locate Pennington and have asked hunters to check trail cameras.

The search radius is very sparse and heavily wooded, and crews can go a long way without seeing anything.

“It’s very heavily wooded, sparse... the grid search is large at this point in time,” Gardner Police Chief Eric McAvene said. “We’re operating under the assumption that he is still alive and on the run.”

Police want the public to be on the lookout.

Through interviews and video surveillance, investigators learned that the couple “had been dealing with marital issues for quite some time,” police wrote.

“Breanne Pennington had plans of moving to Texas with the kids to be away from Aaron Pennington. Aaron Pennington suffered from mental health issues and had threatened suicide,” police wrote.

Pennington should be considered armed and dangerous, and the public should not approach him or try to search for him but rather call 911 immediately.

Authorities described Pennington as a white male with blonde hair, and blue eyes, standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighing approximately 175 pounds.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Gardner police or state police.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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