The estranged husband of Tierne Ewing, the woman found dead in a Pennsylvania barn Tuesday night, has been declared brain dead. Kevin Ewing was discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head near where Tierne’s body lay.
Kevin Ewing had a documented and extremely violent history of abuse towards his wife, whom he’d reportedly been with since the two were in eighth grade. Nonetheless, he was allowed to post bond while awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping her in July. He was accused of keeping Tierne captive in their home for 11 days while beating and burning her, and was also charged with aggravated assault, carrying a gun without a license, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment.
Nonetheless, Washington County Judge Gary Gilman maintained a bond amount of $100,000, despite prosecutors’ requests that he increase it due to the severity of the charges. Ewing was able to leave jail and await trial on house arrest with an ankle monitor, but no one was notified when he cut it, left his house, and kidnapped his wife a second time.
Pittsburgh’s WTAE reports that the couple were staying together in a house owned by Kevin Ewing’s mother when the second kidnapping occurred, despite the fact that Tierne had an active protective order against Kevin:
Around 8:30 p.m. on Monday, the mother told investigators she heard the two arguing downstairs, then saw her son holding a gun while “yelling at the victim and destroying items in the house.”
Ewing’s mother told police that Kevin ordered Tierne to pack bags full of clothing and food, then forced her into a vehicle before handing his mother the ankle bracelet that he had cut off, according to the affidavit.
Tierne Ewing was found dead the following day in a barn two miles away from the house. Kevin was taken to an area hospital and pronounced brain dead on Wednesday. His body will remain on a ventilator until the family makes decisions regarding organ donation.
Assistant district attorney Kristin Clingerman, who was prosecuting the case, told WTAE that she was horrified when Ewing was released: “My heart just dropped. My gut reaction was this is not going to end well.”
Tierne’s father, Richard Kopko, told reporters his daughter was “scared to death” of her husband. Kopko said she previously told him that if she ever went missing, her body would be at her father-in-law’s farm.