Posted by: Kate | March 24, 2009

Criminally Stupid

For those new to the story, my friend L and her 3-year-old daughter X had to move in with us for a few months last summer, because they were leaving a dangerous and abusive relationship and her parents flaked out on her at the last minute. L was pregnant, and gave birth to second daughter K in January. They’re in their own apartment, L is in a new job, and they’re generally doing beyond fantastic.

I can’t, obviously, get into a great amount of detail, but L’s soon-to-be-ex was arrested on Friday in a state known for its restrictive gun laws. He was asleep in his SUV in a business parking lot, with a backseat empty except for two large assault rifles resting on top of it, in full view of the police who stopped to ask him why he was sleeping in a bank parking lot.

He said he was moving from New England to Texas (um, he did that last summer), and that those were the only two guns he had. That they were both registered to him and unloaded.

Turns out, there were more than two dozen guns in the car. Big, scary, nasty guns. Two of them were registered to him… the rest were not, several with filed-off serial numbers. Under the driver’s seat, they found the gun that L kept telling everyone was there, but there was never probable cause to search for it before: an unregistered handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets.

Yeah.

Big, big screw-up, and I’m so, so grateful he was caught.

I’ve been watching it unfold this week, in the news and other spots. The news media has reported it reasonably accurately but there are some pro-gun message boards that have misinterpreted some key points… I can’t blame them, because the case means nothing to them and they want to further their point, but it is hard not to speak up and clear things up.

(Note: this is not a commentary on my thoughts on gun control. Regardless of what I think, there are laws and he broke them. Praise be.)


Now for the background the journalists don’t know yet. On Tuesday of last week, Ex called the Realtor of the house they owned together and signed over power of attorney to her. This was suspicious to her because she’s been asking him to do this for months, so why now? She also has been recording every phone call and saving every email from him, because he has made some scary and inappropriate comments about L and she wanted to keep track just in case. He has told her that “L and I will be together for eternity,” and that “I’m going to take care of her,” and later, “She’s such a whore, she gave me VD” and proceeded to describe his penis to her. This is their REALTOR, not a close personal friend.

He also asked her, on Tuesday, “Could X and I stay at your house overnight, if we needed to?” She said no – because, again, Realtor. Not to mention, he has supervised visitation every other week, how is he going to have his daughter for an overnight?

Wednesday, he called the court-appointed supervisor and told her, “I want to have our visit at the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth this week. Both of our attorneys have agreed to it.” Which, good for her, she said, “Well, I need to see that in writing,” and of course he couldn’t provide that. The Children’s Museum is in New Hampshire – the supervised visits happen 45 minutes away, in Maine. This would have placed him across state lines to start with, and a 15-minute drive from the Massachusetts border.

From things he said to the arresting officers, it is clear that he intended to kidnap X from the visit and drive as far as he could with her. It’s not clear whether he thought he would be able to take L at the same time, or if he thought he could use X as a hostage and negotiate for L – he made comments both ways before he remembered to stop talking.

But he couldn’t get anyone to bend on the visitation place, so he ended up just going as usual and then driving away. L has a friend who is a MA state cop, and he follows Ex every time he leaves, just to make sure he’s not following L home. (Which, by the way, the afternoon of the visit, L was stopping home to get something and saw Ex on her street. She just kept driving instead of getting out, and told herself she was just being paranoid. I’m thankful for her paranoia, because I suspect she was right.)

Made it as far as this other state – which is NOT en route between Maine and Texas – and got himself arrested.

Scary, yeah. And such an amazing series of stereotypes – the language, the actions, the planning, the shortsightedness… you read about abusers like this, but did you ever wonder, “Are people really that stupid? Do they really pull stuff like that?” The answer is, yes.

L was obviously shaken up over it, and yesterday we took both her girls for the day so that she could meet with state police and attorneys locally. But overall, she’s doing amazing, and him being behind bars will do wonders for her sense of peace. Not to mention, all visits are off for the foreseeable future. Plus it’ll be easier to force him to show up for court to complete their divorce if he’s in custody – he’s skipped out on several hearings already.

This is very likely to result in at least a few years of jail time. He was already on probation for a prior threat toward L with a gun, and one of the terms of probation was that he not own any firearms. Several of the guns, and the bullets, were blatantly illegal. And there’s a “fair passage” law, that allows gun owners to transport their legal-at-home guns through not-in-my-backyard states en route to another legal-at-home state, as long as the guns and bullets are separated and locked in the trunk or as far as possible from the driver. Last time I checked, the driver’s seat isn’t in the trunk.

So, really, it’s working around to be a happy ending. He messed up, in a big, splashy way, but it was before he acted on anything, no one got hurt, and he’s several states away now. She has earned at least a few years’ reprieve before continued visitation will even be remotely possible.

How’s that for some drama to make your own life feel boring and well-adjusted?

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Responses

  1. He is obviously dangerous. What the hell? He had visitation? Hope he stays gone.

  2. Unfortunately gun control laws are only effective for law-abiding citizens. I’m glad the police did their job effectively that day and hope he goes away for a long long time.

  3. Oh, MY. I had chills reading this. Thank God he was stupid enough to get caught. Jackass.

    L is so lucky to have you as a friend.

    Yeah, no offense, but your drama does pale in comparison. It doesn’t take away from what you’re going through, but…yeah…at least kidnapping and weapons aren’t on your stress list.

  4. As scary as this all is, it really did end in the best possible way – he’s in jail and no one got hurt. THank goodness the everyone from the realtor to the police worked together to get the guy locked up. I hope he’s in jail for a long, long time. I’m sure L is sleeping easier than she has in a long time.

  5. Wow. I am so glad no one got hurt and beyond happy that someone as unstable as Ex is will be behind bars.

    Suddenly all of my woes have gone pale…

  6. Well i hope L & X can have some peace and get through all of this and heal.
    I also come back to the previous post with MIL and it makes the whole thing even more crazy!!!!!!

  7. I’m so glad everyone is okay and that this story had a happy ending when it could have gone the other way so easily!! Big hugs to all of you!!

  8. Now there’s “one less” psychotic ‘kill my wife and kids and anyone in the way’ male
    on the streets. Thank you Lord. Oh, my goodness Kate that came way too close.

    It’s sad it took this to get him locked up. He should have been on a lock down psych ward in Antarctica years ago.

    I’m glad everyone is safe especially you and your family. You knew the danger and offered them refuge. You are an amazing friend.

  9. Wow, that is one scary story and one very scary man. He did indeed hit the news with splash, nationally, no? If that’s TMI for your general readership, feel free to edit my comment.

  10. WOW I am glad that L and X are ok and this all stayed away techincally from them. I hope the judge jury and whoever else deemed appropriate throws the entire book at him.

  11. Michelle, not that I’m aware of. It has hit the news in the area where it happened, but I haven’t seen it on anything bigger yet… can you email me and let me know what you saw?

  12. Wow. It IS a scary story. And a case for gun control. I’m so sorry L and X have to go through that.


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