Arguing heard in phone call before Wheeling murder-suicide, police say

The last time anyone heard from a Wheeling couple who were found dead last week in an apparent murder-suicide was the night before their bodies were discovered — and they were arguing at the time, police said Monday.

Police believe Russell O’Connor, 44, fatally shot Marisa Dister, 46, and then himself in their home on the 300 block of 12th Street. Their bodies were found together Thursday evening by a friend of Dister’s who was worried because she hadn’t shown up for work that day at a local bar.

A friend of O’Connor’s said he received a phone call from him at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night, Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Al Steffen said. Arguing could be heard, Steffen said.

Dister last had been seen alive Tuesday by customers and co-workers at the Old Munich Tavern & Grill in Wheeling, where she was a bartender. Dister worked Monday night but had Tuesday and Wednesday off, patrons said.

A handgun found near the bodies was registered to O’Connor, Steffen said Monday. O’Connor had a valid firearm owners identification card and a concealed carry license, Steffen said.

Autopsies revealed both Dister and O’Connor suffered fatal gunshot wounds, and that O’Connor’s was self-inflicted.

Police had been to the couple’s home because of domestic issues, most recently this past Christmas, police said. O’Connor’s FOID card hadn’t ever been revoked, however, nor did police ever remove guns from the home, Steffen said.

Visitation for Dister is scheduled to run from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kolssak Funeral Home, 189 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling.

Friends of Dister’s launched an online fundraiser benefiting her daughters, Haley and Ella. More than $10,000 had been pledged as of Monday night.

Dister’s other survivors include her mother and a sibling.

‘It’s terribly sad’: Two dead in Wheeling murder-suicide

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