Rural Powell couple dead in murder-suicide


A rural Powell man killed his longtime partner and then himself this (Monday) morning, the Park County Sheriff’s Office says.

Authorities say it appears John C. Bright, 74, murdered Mary Ann Bier, 64, at the home the couple shared on Jonathon Road, a couple miles west of Powell off of Lane 8.

“The investigation revealed that the victims, although not married, were involved in a long-time, live-in relationship,” Lance Mathess, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release. “However, recently the relationship had soured, and when Bright discovered Bier’s intent to leave him, he became despondent and shot her before turning the gun on himself.”

Bright called a family member early this (Monday) morning and told them to come to the house, saying he’d left a note in his truck, Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said. He said the family member called 911 after that, around 4:30 a.m.

Sheriff’s deputies and an ambulance from Powell Valley Hospital were immediately dispatched to the residence.

“Both victims were transported to Powell Valley Hospital, where they died of their wounds,” Mathess said. He said a suicide note was found at the scene.

Sheriff’s deputies were continuing to investigate the incident this (Monday) afternoon, with an autopsy pending, but Steward said everything at the home appeared to be consistent with a murder-suicide.

He added that, “we have no indication of previous history of violence or anything going on there.”

Bier delivered mail in the Powell area for more than 20 years, retiring from the Postal Service in 2015.

She told the Tribune at the time of her retirement that she moved to Powell in 1994, because Bright wanted to live in the area.

It’s the first murder in Park County since early 2014.