SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) – A man who beat and stabbed his girlfriend to death Christmas Day and then went on a shooting and arson spree, killing three others before turning the gun on himself, had a history of domestic violence.

Authorities piecing together the multiple murder-suicide said family members knew of the abuse and disapproved of Teresa Adkins’ relationship with Louis DeBerardinis and encouraged Adkins to end it.

On Thursday, DeBerardinis killed Adkins, 31, at the two-story home they shared in Niskayuna, just outside of Schenectady, and then set the place on fire. Adkins died of blunt head trauma and knife wounds, police said.

DeBerardinis, 35, then drove to an apartment less than a mile away and fatally shot two of Adkins’ family members and a friend.

Police identified those killed as Adkins’ surrogate mother, Susan Gallione; Adkins’ sister, Pamela Adkins; and family friend, Bruce Smith. Police said DeBerardinis then set the apartment on fire and then killed himself.

“There were problems between he and his girlfriend, they fought, he killed her and he went after her family,” said Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney.

Gallione, 55, died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Pamela Adkins, 35, was shot in the chest and Smith, 38, in the head. Gallione raised the Adkins sisters when they were young after receiving court custody of the two, police said.

A preliminary investigation indicates both fires had been set following an apparent domestic dispute Thursday, authorities said.

Carney said no charges are expected.

Firefighters were called to the woman’s Niskayuna home around 5 a.m. Thursday and found her dead inside. Minutes later, smoke was reported at an apartment in Schenectady, 10 miles northwest of Albany. When officials arrived, they discovered two men and two women fatally shot inside, and a shotgun was recovered in the apartment.

“This tragedy is the end result of a really unfortunate situation that I’m not sure anybody could prevent,” Schenectady Police Chief Michael Geraci Sr. said Thursday. “You’d have to ask the perpetrator exactly what drove him to this event.”

Geraci said there were no prior domestic violence calls to police from the Niskayuna home.

The killings raised the homicide count in Schenectady to 11 this year, up from 9 in 2002. Police said it was the first murder in Niskayuna this year.

AP-ES-12-26-03 1754EST



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