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Court documents show bloody sledgehammer, rifle found at scene of Pittsylvania County triple murder

Credit: Chatham Star-Tribune
Credit: Chatham Star-Tribune

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Court documents have revealed new details surrounding the Pittsylvania County triple murder earlier this week. 

On Tuesday, a woman referred to in a criminal complaint as "Ms. Jefferson" told officers that Matthew Bernard came to her house, punched her in the arm then ran away. 

Bernard is accused of killing his mother, 62-year-old Joan Bernard; his sister, 25-year-old Emily Bivens; and his 14-month-old nephew, Cullen Bivens. 

Jefferson told authorities that shortly after he punched her, she heard multiple gunshots coming from his house next door, 1949 Keeling Drive. 

Authorities say Jefferson then drove to the house, where she found a body lying in the driveway. The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office found a woman dead in the driveway of the home as well as a woman and a baby dead inside the home. 

According to deputies who responded to the scene, two of the victims had gunshot wounds to the head and .30-.30 caliber gun shell casings were found near all three bodies. 

Authorities say a sledgehammer covered in blood was found in the garage. A .30-.30 rifle was also found in the woods behind the home. 


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