NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office says a Chalmette man brutally murdered his ex-wife with an ax as her mother begged for her daughter's life.
It happened Wednesday morning in front of the woman's home on Palmetto Street near North Derbigny.
A witness, who FOX 8 is not identifying, described the horrific scene that unfolded in broad daylight.
"I was on my porch and I hear a woman screaming, I thought it was a friend of mine so, I walked into the street to see what was going on because I saw a man and I saw him swinging something, I didn't know what it was, it could have been a bat so, I got in my car because I thought it was my friend and got to where we are now when I realized what he had in his hand, it was an ax and I saw what he was doing with it," the witness said.
The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office says 56-year-old Mark Owens may have been hiding under his ex-wife's house when he ambushed her.
"Early indications tell us that he may have been waiting for her to leave to go to work which would have been around that 8 a.m. time, when she exited the house and was walking toward her vehicle, at that point we believe the attack happened," said St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlman.
The Sheriff says Owens used a long-handled ax to attack his ex-wife who is identified as 48-year-old Kimberly Owens. She was hit numerous times all while her mother begged for her daughter's life. Owens died in the street before help could arrive.
"She heard the screams, exited the house and saw the attack in progress and she yelled and begged for the attack to stop and at some point it appeared they he may have gone after her, she retreated into the house and called the sheriff's office," said Pohlman.
A witness told FOX 8, after the attack, Owens took off running. He later turned himself into the Sheriff's Office. He's now facing a second degree murder charge.
"I didn't know her personally and this is going to stay with me so I don't even want to imagine what her mom is going through," a witness said.
Mark Owens has had prior run-ins with the Sheriff's Office. According to police records, in 2014, Owens made threats to then Parish President David Peralta after accusing him of being romantically involved with his wife, Kimberly Owens. But in that report, she was adamant that she was not having an affair with Peralta. And in 2015, Owens was arrested for a domestic dispute also involving today's victim.