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Husband, wife in murder-suicide remembered

Mourners attend the wake and prayer service for

Mourners attend the wake and prayer service for murder victim Sherrelle Hayes in Bellmore. (May 4, 2012) Credit: Heather Walsh

Friends and family of Thomas and Sherrelle Hayes -- the North Bellmore husband and wife who died this week in a murder-suicide -- remembered them Friday as loving parents who adored their children.

At separate wakes for the couple, Thomas Hayes' friends said he loved to talk about his four children: two girls and two boys.

"He loved his family deeply," said Stephen Morris, of New Jersey, who worked in construction with Thomas Hayes in Manhattan. "This whole tragedy was a complete shock."

Catherine and Christopher Cocuzza, of Ronkonkoma, said Sherrelle Hayes lit up the room upon entering.

"She was the kind of person that if you met her you'd fall in love with her," said Catherine Cocuzza, 28, a cousin. "She was a wonderful person and she will be missed by everyone who knew her."

Christopher Cocuzza, 37, echoed his wife's sentiment. "Sherrelle was a bright and cheery person," he said. "I am in shock and I don't know what to say."

Some attendees who came to the wakes at Clair S. Bartholomew & Son Funeral Home in Bellmore said the tragedy left them stunned.

On Tuesday morning, police said, Thomas Hayes, 43, stabbed his wife three times in the kitchen of their home, then hanged himself hours later in a locked second-floor bedroom.

When the children -- girls 13 and 10, and boys 9 and 7 -- returned home that afternoon, they found their mother dead and a note, left by their father, telling them to call police.

A law enforcement source said Sherrelle Hayes, 44, had been having an affair with another man for several months and was considering a divorce.

As three of Thomas Hayes' friends -- Morris, Jeff Perez and Ray Weiss -- left the wake, they shared memories of the man they said did everything for his children, including enduring concerts by a teen pop star.

"He bought tickets to two Justin Bieber shows and sat through both of them," Morris said. "If that is not kindness and love, I don't know what is."

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