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Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 09/18/2010

Police: murder-suicide in Prince William

By Mary Pat Flaherty

Updated, 4:32 p.m.

Days before a scheduled court appearance on a domestic violence charge, a Nokesville man shot and killed his wife early Saturday before turning the gun on himself, Prince William County police said.

The final argument of Robert W. Bates, 42, and Jennifer Bates, 38, ended in the apparent murder-suicide at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday outside their vehicle on a cul-de-sac in the Montclair neighborhood of Prince William County. It was not known why the couple had driven to the 15700 block of Widewater Drive, police said.

They lived in the 8100 block of Erika Drive in Nokesvilles where on June 26th Robert Bates had been arrested for domestic assault and battery after police responded to a call, said Officer Jonathan Perok, a county police spokesman. Robert Bates had a court date set for Friday sept 24 in that case, Perok said.

After the June incident, both of the Bateses were served with an emergency protective order barring contact between them, but that order had expired and was not extended, Perok said.

Typically, Perok said, the orders last for 72 hours after a domestic assault arrest although a victim in the case could seek an extension.

Information about the handgun found at the scene and whether it was registered to either Bates was not immediately available, police said.

Robert Bates was dead at the scene after shooting himself in the head, police said.
Jennifer Bates died Saturday shortly after being taken to a local hospital with a shot to her upper body. She was an employee of the Prince William County Service Authority, according to police.

--Mary Pat Flaherty

By Mary Pat Flaherty  | September 18, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
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