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83-year-old sentenced for killing of wife and daughter with ax

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Reginald Maclaren was sentenced by an Arapahoe County judge Wednesday morning to life without parole.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — An 83-year-old man was sentenced to life without parole Wednesday morning for the 2023 killing of his wife and daughter.

An Arapahoe County judge sentenced Reginald Maclaren to:

  • Two sentences of life without parole for two counts of first-degree murder after deliberation
  • Two 12-year sentences for two counts of tampering with a deceased body
  • A 120-day sentence in jail, with credit for time served, for false reporting

A jury found Maclaren guilty in June.

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On March 25, 2023, Maclaren called 911 saying his wife and daughter had been murdered. He stated that he believed he knew the suspect and that the suspect had used a hammer, according to the Englewood Police Department.

When officers arrived at the family’s apartment at 901 Englewood Pkwy., they found the bodies of 70-year-old Bethany Maclaren and 35-year-old Ruth Jennifer Maclaren inside two large trash cans in the living room/kitchen area of the apartment. 


According to an arrest affidavit from the police department, Maclaren told police he had recently been terminated from his job and he frequently dealt with people who were experiencing homelessness.

He said he knew “what a miserable life that was” and didn’t want his family to go through that, the affidavit says.

He told investigators he had no money left to pay rent and began planning to kill his family. He described striking his wife and daughter on their heads with an ax as they sat on the couch Saturday morning. He said both were knocked unconscious and that he struck each of them two more times and then placed their bodies in the trash cans. He said he was unable to lift the cans to move them outside the apartment, according to the affidavit.

Maclaren told police he had recently purchased the trash cans, ax and a saw, and he said he “fully intended” to use those items to kill his family. He also told police that he “does not regret” killing his family because he “knows they are in a better place,” the affidavit says.

In March 2023, the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office contacted the Colorado Nepal Alliance to help them find Bethany and Ruth’s family. Anne Hines, executive director of the alliance, and her colleague Sangeeta Shrotriya found their relatives in India and have been in contact with them.

Hines said that in Maclaren’s trial, the defense argued that the murder did not add up, pointing to the fact Maclaren was the one who called 911 and stayed at the scene until police came. But she said the evidence presented by the prosecution was insurmountable. 

The jury deliberated for two hours before handing down the guilty verdict. While the evidence was clear, Hines said the motive is still unclear.

“I think everyone was left trying to figure out why. Why exactly did he feel that he needed to do this?” Hines said. “I thought maybe having him convicted might make me feel better. But I don’t. Ruth and Bethany are still deceased.”

Bethany, whose Indian name is Pavitra Rana, was in the Indian Army as a nurse before she moved to the United States with Maclaren. In a letter sent to Hines by one of Bethany’s close friends, the friend said they both grew up in Kalimpong, “a small hill town in eastern India… She liked to do embroidery and tatting laces in her free time. She was warm and friendly, but reserved socially.”


Ruth had cerebral palsy and lived with her parents as an adult because she needed assistance due to her disability. She had aspirations of becoming an attorney and had just begun schooling before she died. 

“Ruth was described as being just the kindest soul, that she had a lot of childlike wonder,” Hines said.


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