Layton PD investigates apparent murder/suicide

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LAYTON, Utah -- A community in Layton is mourning after their neighbor allegedly fatally shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.

It happened around 1:30 a.m. at 580 North Franklin Drive.

Police said the couple started fighting late into the night, which is when things got heated.

The couple's 20-year-old daughter called 911 and told a dispatcher her parents had been fighting and then she heard loud bangs.

When she checked on them, she found both her mother and father bleeding from gunshot wounds.

“It will be a shock for everybody in the neighborhood,” said neighbor Otto Huebner. “We know him from church and the children. For me it's unbelievable.”

Investigators believe the husband, 39-year-old Bret Pepper, shot his wife, 37-year-old Jill Pepper, with a handgun and then shot himself.

Their three children, ages 20, 13 and 10, were in the home at the time.The children were taken from the home by other family members, according to a press release from the Layton Police Department.

“That's what I'm concerned about is the kids,” said friend and neighbor Curtis Green. “That's going to be really hard for them, especially this time of year. I can't believe that this happened.”

Friends and neighbors said they felt they knew the Peppers well, saying they never suspected problems between them.

“This is not a house where people fought and screamed, you would ever expect this,” said family friend Jon Taylor.


  • Melody

    What a sad tme for the families of this couple. I really feel sad when a person feels like this is the only way out of a situation. My thoughts Nd prayers are with the members of the families of this couple. I hope that tjeir pain is gone and that the families do not suffer too much. Remember that you are loved.

  • Shantai Griffin

    Why didn’t the people stop them then yet they may be drinking that is so sad why do people kill them self.

  • willow

    I don’t see where it says they were drinking. Holidays and stress may have been too much. I grew up in a violent home where my mother beat me often and the neighbors never knew. Sometimes behind closed doors things happen that we don;t know about.

  • Brooke

    For heavens sakes. I know this family well and where did anything say there were drinking. They didn’t do that!! Obviously there is something else going on. Have respect for there family members and keep your stupid comments and accusations to yourself. So you think it would hurt if there family members saw that stupid stuff you assume! Cause they will see it and there are suffering so much already! Don’t add to it! Be thoughtful and kind! Prayers to all those suffering this loss. And prayers for there children that they may find peace!

  • A sad mother..

    My hearts go out to their children. Really, they are the ones who have to live through this ordeal. I hope they find comfort from losing both parents.

  • Nolan Jabczynski

    We all love you Jill, we will miss you dearly. See you on the other side.

    Love, Nolan, Heidi, & Tyler.. xoxoxo

    • Sunny

      Heidi, Nolan & Tyler

      My name is Sunny, Heidi you may remember me, Jill and I were friends in school and I spent a great deal of time at your mothers apartment. I just wanted to let you know how very sorry I am for your lose. Jill was a big part of my teenage years, and I will always remember her friendship, kindness, and the fun we had together as young silly girls. This makes me so very, very sad! Peace, love, and prayers to your family, your parents and Jill’s children.

  • Justen

    Truth be told i new Bret since 7th grade we where close friends during school. I was with Bret many times when he was with Jill and they always fought with each other. I told him to find another girlfriend or one day he would regret it but I did not realize it would lead to my good friends death. May god forgive his sins and peace be with his wife in heaven. I know he was a great dad after 22 years of a toxic realationship he let the satan take control. May the lord keep his children safe and bring them healing amen…..

  • koldobika2020

    People in toxic relationships tend to hide the worst aspects of their personal lives from their extended family and friends, because they know it’s not healthy and they don’t want people to know they are having problems. Nobody likes to feel ashamed.

    People shouldn’t insist that there was never anything wrong with them or that this wasn’t a family that ever fought – clearly there was something wrong and they did fight a lot. I’m sure the children will have some interesting things to say to investigators about their parents if they are honest, or at least the older adult child will, as she should have been old enough to recognize the signs of a toxic or emotionally abusive marriage (whether the wife or the husband, or both were abusers will likely never be known publicly).

    A combination of a toxic relationship, religious guilt over the idea of separating or divorcing (this is a big problem in Utah especially when kids are involved), and increased mental stress from the toxicity, negative energy, and constant verbal abuse is what leads to this kind of crime of passion.

    If you are in a dating or marital relationship that causes you to have even the slightest violent ideas toward your partner, seek outside help and professional therapy immediately. It’s not worth letting it fester just to avoid potential social embarrassment. No family is perfect. Don’t try to pretend yours is just to impress your neighbors or church ward friends. If you need help, get it. And no, don’t go to church leaders for marital counseling – get real psychiatric care that addresses the actual mental and emotional issues. Religious counseling does not do this.

  • victoria norton

    I am so mad and beyond sad. I need to cry and can’t. I knew both Bret and Jill. I have been a friend and neighbor for years. I loved them both. Please stop the arguing about guns and alcohol. Neither one of those topics have anything to do with this. The only victims in this ugly mess are the innocent children left behind to deal with this horrific trauma for the rest of their lives. They will never get a proper closure. No one will be brought to justice. They will be torn because it is an inherent need to love both of your parents, they are going to be angry at both of them. Yes. BOTH. Here is the thing: the hardest and ugliest part that none of us want to own up too. Responsibility. Bret pulled the trigger and made the final statement. Jill played her part as well. I know for a fact, that she had threatened to leave many times and never made good on it. I doubt it would have mattered. I think Bret was obsessed with Jill and she was addicted to Bret. I honestly believe and know they loved each other. I know all of the neighbors. I was one as well. I can verify that they were excellent at keeping their private life private. I keep mine the same way. I am off track.. two words keep playing in my head: free agency. None of us did anything to stop this tragedy. What could we do? Think about it. Those of you, who like me, knew the other side to their relationship. What did you or I do to intervene? Not much beyond lending a sympathetic ear or advice. It was up to them. I pray that both of them are at peace now. I pray for strength and love and support for their children. I refuse to play the blame game. I advise you that are playing it, to stop and look in the mirror. As much as I love them, I was kept awake by this thought last night: considering the time of morning it happened and for the the authorities to be called only when gunshots rang out, it signifies to me that this was a normal circumstance for this family. think about it. If you were a child and you had never heard your parents argue/yell etc… you would be inclined to protect whomever you felt was being hurt. The kids are not little. Good God it breaks my heart.

  • anonymous

    I don’t care if they were arguing or argued a lot or that Jill may have threatened to leave Bret many times, or that she was imperfect and it was a bad relationship. HE TOOK A GUN AND SHOT HER, ENDING HER LIFE. This is unforgivable. The kids are left without their mother, and she was the kind of mother any kid would dream of having. Gorgeous, devoted, always attended their events and she made every holiday extra special. She was totally involved in their lives, more than most moms. This is such a huge loss for these children, a whole that can never be filled. Christmas memories are ruined forever for them. Not that they can’t recover in some respects with the love of extended family, but things will never be the same and now life is a scary, frightening, sad place. What he did to the children is worse than what he did to Jill. He took their mother from them for the rest of their lives. All because he was angry. And then he took a coward’s way out. I’m tired of people acting as though this is Jill’s fault. There is nothing she did to deserve getting shot and killed. Bret’s obituary does not even mention Jill, as if she never existed. Just another way Jill is eliminated by him and his family.

  • Jennifer Loe

    The world is full of quirkiness. Murder is everywhere and the most terrifying thing about it is we don’t know if the person we’re talking to is a murderer! It is better for us to take caution. I am so glad I found an application SafeKidZone,it’s a safety management device. Whenever you’re in trouble or whenever you’re uncomfortable with any situation, you can actually press that Panic Button and your exact GPS coordinates will be sent over their system. Whenever you’re in trouble, they know where you are. They also got what we call a Safety Profile wherein you can upload your recent picture and any information about you. Whenever there is a real emergency, they can route it over to the nearest 9-1-1 center based on your GPS location. So essentially, responders will take less time in getting there because they know where you are. And of course, they will know what you look like. Check this link:

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