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Days before killing his ex-wife inside a Wawa store in Radnor, Brian Kennedy legally purchased an AR-15 rifle, Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland said Thursday.

Kennedy, 34, of Devon, passed an instant background check at a Pennsylvania gun shop on March 16 and walked out with the semiautomatic rifle, the prosecutor said. Twelve days later, he took the gun to the store on Sugartown Road for what was supposed to be a child-custody exchange. Instead, he shot Stephanie Miller, 37, several times in the head and stomach at point-blank range, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kennedy fled and was found that night in a Glen Mills park, where he overdosed on undisclosed drugs in his car. The couple’s 6-year-old son, who was not present, was unharmed.

Kennedy was arraigned Monday at Crozer-Chester Medical Center on charges of first-degree murder, third-degree murder, and related offenses. After being treated for the overdose, he was released from the hospital on Thursday and taken to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Radnor police said.

Kennedy had threatened Miller in the past, including an incident three years earlier at the same store. During a child-custody exchange around 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2016, Kennedy whispered in Miller’s ear, “Get that [expletive] life insurance policy before I kill you,” while she waited in the checkout line, court records show.

That incident resulted in a protection from abuse court order which would have prevented Kennedy from buying any guns, but unfortunately, it lapsed in September. 

This is yet another example of why more detailed background checks are necessary and why those who have EVER inflicted domestic abuse on another person should be restricted from owning a weapon like this. 

And now this poor child is left without either parent in his life.