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Parents of 'Dallas' Star Killed in Robbery

November 20, 1986|From Times Wire Services

BOULDER, Mont. — The parents of "Dallas" star Patrick Duffy were killed by shotgun blasts at the tavern they owned, and two suspects were arrested after a girlfriend's tip and a high-speed chase, officials said Wednesday.

Terence and Marie Duffy, whose son plays Bobby Ewing on the popular CBS television series, were killed late Tuesday in this western Montana town.

The actor flew from Los Angeles to Montana after learning of the killings. Leonard Katzman, executive producer of "Dallas," said in a statement: "It goes without saying that everyone is overcome with grief. . . . Our only concern is for Patrick and his family."

Filming of "Dallas" shut down in the morning, but Duffy urged the crew to continue work and shooting resumed in the afternoon, Lorimar Telepictures spokeswoman Barbara Brogliatti said in Los Angeles. It was not known when Duffy will return to the set.

The slayings apparently were motivated by robbery, and a shotgun believed used in the crime was recovered, along with money believed taken from the bar, authorities said.

Sean A. Wentz and Kenneth A. Miller, both 19 and from Helena, each were charged with two counts of deliberate homicide. They appeared Wednesday in Helena before Justice of the Peace Joe Miller, who increased bail from $250,000 to $500,000 for each of them.

They did not enter pleas, and the case was continued until Dec. 4.

"These guys are cooperating with us, at least to a point. The only thing I can tell you is that one of them is saying the other one did the shooting," Lewis and Clark County Undersheriff Ed Schild said in Helena, where the two were arrested.

Terence Duffy "was just the kind of guy that would have told them to get out" and probably would not have cooperated with the robbers, said Keith Dempsey, who lives in an apartment next to the bar.

"They didn't like the rowdiness," Dempsey said. "They were quiet people. They kept most of the riffraff out. If any trouble started they (the troublemakers) were out the door."

The bodies of the Duffys, both believed to be in their mid-60s, were found by a group of people who stopped for a drink after a shift change at the Montana Developmental Center, a state institution for the developmentally disabled.

A woman in the group saw Marie Duffy on the floor but thought she might have fainted. The woman then saw blood on Terence Duffy and retreated to the street to flag down a friend, she said.

Later, the two suspects, one of them wielding a shotgun, confronted two janitors at a car dealership in Helena, about 30 miles north of Boulder, ordered the janitors to leave the building and stole a pickup truck, Schild said.

The suspects also went to the home of Wentz's 22-year-old girlfriend and "mentioned a crime where some people had been shot and were dead," Helena Police Capt. Ron Morley said.

After they left the woman's home, she called her mother, who called police, Morley said. When an officer arrived to interview the woman, the two returned to the area and were spotted, he said.

Fled in 2 Vehicles

"They did take off at a high rate of speed in two vehicles," said Al Brockway, Helena deputy police chief, said.

They were arrested before midnight by police officers and sheriff's deputies.

"One of them had blood all over him. . . . We recovered the shotgun and some money," Schild said.

The Duffys resumed operation of their bar about eight years ago, a resident said. They had owned it for years previously when their son was growing up but lived in Oregon part of the time and leased the bar to other operators. Patrick Duffy spent part of his youth in Boulder.

A daughter in the family, Joanne Hunt, is a Seattle, Wash., police lieutenant.

"This type of thing never happened in Boulder before," said Denise Sutherlin, who works at the weekly newspaper, the Boulder Monitor. "Everybody's stunned. This town is so small that everybody knows everybody else. It hasn't sunk in yet."

"We don't have enough money in the whole town of Boulder to make it worth getting shot over," said Phil Yanzick, co-owner of Phil & Tim's Bar & Bowl nearby.

Karen Shaffner, a singer in a country-western band called Billy's Country Outfit, recalled Duffy helping her band find work and helping needy people in Boulder.

"Whenever he knew we needed money, he'd tell us where to go and we'd always get work," she said. "He was a really great guy."

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