Hundreds gather to honor slain Franklin mother, victims of domestic violence

FRANKLIN, Mass. — Hundreds of people packed Franklin Town Common on Sunday night to remember a mother of two who was killed in a horrific attack.

Shirley Owen was murdered inside her home on Grace Lane on Friday. Police said her estranged husband Brendon Owen is responsible.

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According to court documents, Brendon entered the home with a hammer or lead pipe and first duct-taped Shirley’s mother. The suspect’s former mother-in-law managed to escape, but Shirley did not.

Her home was set on fire after she was allegedly beaten.

“We will do anything we can on her behalf, so this tragedy never happens again,” said friend Malkit Hayun.

People who gathered for Sunday night’s vigil wore purple clothes and ribbons for domestic violence awareness. Shirley had an active restraining order against the estranged husband accused of taking her life.

“Everyone coming and sharing is a reflection of how wonderful of a woman Shirley truly was,” said friend Bethany Manning.

Religious leaders, community leaders, teachers, and coaches spoke at the vigil to a crowd in mourning. Those who stood at the podium vowed to look after the 13 and 15-year-old kids who Shirley leaves behind. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $250,000 for Shirley’s children and mother, who lost their home and everything they owned as a result of the fire.

Brendon Owen is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping, arson, and assault and battery. His next court appearance is scheduled for January 19.