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SMITH v. QUIGG and SMITH v. QUIGG were related 2006 Court of Appeals of Ohio family court cases which involved a Jehovah's Witness Family whom the Ohio courts found to be less than exemplary parent and grandparents. Gavin Izaak Smith was reared by an active Jehovah's Witness Mother, Joyce M. Smith, and his father, Gregory A. Smith. At the time of this case, Gavin I. Smith reportedly was "disfellowshipped", while Gavin's father supposedly had never been one of Jehovah's Witness, but thought/spoke favorably of Jehovah's Witnesses and the WatchTower religion.
In April 1998, Christina Rae Quigg birthed Izaak Smith out-of-wedlock with Gavin Smith. (Gavin Smith already had a child with another unidentified female.) In December 1998, Gavin Smith was legally declared Izaak's father, and in January 1999, Gavin Smith filed for custody of Izaak Smith. In October 1999, the court named Gavin Smith the residential parent for Izaak Smith. In February 2001, Christina Quigg was killed in a train/automobile crash. Gavin Smith obtained custody of Izaak Smith in 1999, but Izaak Smith actually resided at the home of Gregory and Joyce Smith.
In September 2001, the court granted rights of companionship with Izaak Smith to Christina Quigg's mother and adoptive father, Carla and Eugene Quigg. Almost immediately, there were problems over the fact that the Smiths were rearing Izaak as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, while the Quiggs were Methodists. In October 2001, the Smiths denied the Quiggs their scheduled companionship. After multiple court proceedings over visitation rights, in May 2003, the Smiths commenced a proceeding to adopt Izaak in Franklin County, Ohio. Also in May 2003, the Quiggs filed a motion for custody of Izaak in Fairfield County, Ohio, where the previous litigation had taken place. The Fairfield County court -- where all previous legal proceedings had occurred -- was not notified of the adoption proceeding, nor were the guardian ad litem or appellees. The Franklin County court issued a final decree of adoption in July 2003, but vacated that decree in August 2003 after learning of the ongoing litigation in the Fairfield County court.
Custody-visitation litigation continued throughout 2003 and 2004 until the Fairfield County court finally awarded custody to the Quiggs, with the Smiths receiving visitation rights, in December 2004. The Smiths appealed, but lost in these two March 2006 Court of Appeals decisions. Here are pertinent scattered excerpts from both similar decisions:
Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays, holidays, or political and national holidays. They do not say the pledge of allegiance, do not salute the flag, and do not honor other secular icons. Jehovah's Witnesses do not participate in competitive team sports. ...
The record indicates [Gavin Smith] and his mother Janice Smith participated in physical abuse of Izaak. After Izaak reported incidents of inappropriate touching by Joyce Smith, the Fairfield County Children's Services investigated but did not intervene. The guardian ad litem was extremely critical of ... the Smiths, and their own counselor testified they were inflexible and Joyce Smith is hot-headed. ...
It appears [Smiths] withheld Izaak from a 48 hour visit with [Quiggs] because [Quiggs] intended to trim their Christmas tree that weekend, which is contrary to [Smith's WatchTower Cult beliefs]. The record indicates ... the Smiths paddled Izaak if he participated in any of [Quiggs'] activities if those activities were forbidden by [Smiths'] religion. ...
... [Smiths] argue the trial court has interfered with the practice of their religion. We find to the contrary, the trial court has tried to steer a course respecting both parties' religions. What [Smiths] wish is for the court to interfere with [Quiggs'] practice of their religion in their own home, and have consistently attempted to prohibit [Quiggs] from doing anything [Smiths] disapprove of, even if it involves holidays the Methodist religion celebrates.
The trial court here found [Gavin Smith] had abandoned Izaak. [Gavin Smith] had relinquished his parental rights in the unsuccessful adoption action in Franklin County. ... the entire adoption attempt nevertheless indicates his lack of commitment to being Izaak's father. The record also includes much evidence showing [Gavin Smith] had relinquished Izaak's caretaking to his parents and intended to continue to do so. Finally, there was evidence presented at trial that [Gavin Smith] abused Izaak physically and emotionally. ...
The guardian ad litem reported [Gavin Smith] repeatedly lied about his religious observances and church attendance, and the report gives the distinct impression the guardian ad litem questioned the sincerity of [Gavin Smith's religious] beliefs. The guardian ad litem's report included discussions of many other issues including Izaak's interactions with [Gavin Smith], the Smiths, and [Quiggs]; the corporal punishment and psychological abuse administered by [Gavin Smith] and Joyce Smith; Izaak's report of sexual abuse by Joyce Smith; and the lack of interest [Gavin Smith] displayed for being Izaak's caregiver. ...
The court found [Gavin Smith] and the Smiths in civil and criminal contempt in the final entry dated December 30, 2004, ... . The court found because of the contemptuous actions of [Gavin Smith] and the Smiths, [the Quiggs] were required to take drastic, prolonged court action. The court found all activity and expenses after the initial visitation order are a result of [Gavin Smith's] improper conduct in concert with the Smiths. The court found [Gavin Smith] and the Smiths had all operated in bad faith, and all the fees stemmed entirely from their refusal to comply with the orders of the court. ...
The trial court specifically found both [Gavin Smith] and the Smiths have a "track record" of total distain for any court order and believe their wishes outweigh the court's order. The court found they all participated in the fraudulent adoption proceedings in July 2003. The court found [Gavin Smith] and the Smiths never had any intention to allow appellees any contact with the child. ...
[Gavin Smith] was ordered to pay all [Quiggs'] legal fees, all guardian ad litem fees, all expert fees, the cost of all the psychological evaluations, costs of depositions and transcriptions, and for the parenting classes both the Smiths and [Quiggs] attended. The total judgment against [Gavin Smith] and the Smiths is $105,540.37.
OREGON v. CHRISTIAN MICHAEL LONGO (2003), MICHIGAN v. CHRISTIAN LONGO (2000), and MICHIGAN v. CHRIS LONGO (1992) are criminal court cases which involved a "home-schooled" Jehovah's Witness "Ministerial Servant" named Christian Longo. Chris Longo was reared as a Jehovah's Witness by parents who became prominent Jehovah's Witnesses over the years. Joy Longo was the first to convert to the JWs when Christian Longo and Dustin Longo were youngsters. Joe Longo, the stepfather, was a corporate level manager with TARGET Corporation, and he eventually converted due to Joy's determination, and eventually became a "Jehovah's Witness Elder". In the mid 1990s, the WatchTower Society selected the Longos -- an "Elder" and a "Pioneer" Couple -- to travel as special delegates and "role models" to multiple WatchTower Conventions being held in several Eastern European countries and the Baltic Republics.
Despite having been home-schooled during high school, so that he could also "pioneer", 18 year-old Christian Longo was arrested and convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement in 1992, after he stole cash out of the cash register at a Michigan photographic equipment store where he was employed as a salesclerk.
In September 2000, a married Christian Longo, who by then was a "Ministerial Servant" in his JW Congregation, and employer of several of his fellow JWs, pled guilty to two counts of forgery and two counts of uttering and publishing in connection with a series of forgery and fraud crimes committed in Summer 2000. Longo had manufactured, signed, and cashed checks which he duplicated from genuine checks issued to him by a construction firm which was a customer of Longo's own janitorial services company. In actuality, Longo had faked and forged six checks amounting to approximately $30,000.00.
By the summer of 2001, Christian Longo was again manufacturing and cashing fraudulent checks duplicated from his customers' legitimate payment checks. Longo was never prosecuted for such, because by that time his criminal activities were swiftly escalating to theft of automobiles, boats, construction equipment, and the finale -- murder of his wife and three children .
In December 2001, after having fled to Oregon to hide from authorities in Michigan and Ohio, and after having ran out of money and options to obtain money to support his family, and because he could no longer turn to his Jehovah's Witness family, Christian Longo's mentally ill mind led him to kill his faithful JW wife and three young innocent children, and disposed of their bodies by dumping them in two coastal inlets. Longo then fled to Cancun, where Mexican police and the FBI eventually discovered him smoking pot and fornicating with a German tourist.
"SHUNNED NO MORE"
CALIFORNIA v. DAE KWON YUN is an ongoing 2006-8 California murder court case. On Sunday afternoon, April 2, 2006, a Los Angeles Jehovah's Witness, named Dae Kwon Yun, 54, allegedly set fire to the interior of his Toyota Sequoia while he was sitting in the driver's seat and while his daughter, Ashley, 11, and son, Alexander, 10, were sitting in the rear passenger section. Dae Kwon Yun eventually jumped out of the SUV with second and third degree burns on his face, hands and legs, but his two children died in the fire. Yun was charged in 2006 with two counts of murder, including special-circumstance allegations of multiple victims and murder committed during an arson, which allow a possible death sentence. Yun has pleaded "not guilty".
Yun, who is of Korean heritage, immigrated to the United States from Argentina in the 1980s. Yun supposedly had earned a law degree in Argentina, but it is not known whether he practiced law there or after coming to the U.S. In 1993, Yun married another Korean immigrant, Sun Ok Ma, a realtor, and they soon had the two children. Yun owned and operated a garment factory in the Koreatown district, and was financially successful until 1999, when reportedly, the state and federal governments came after Yun for nearly $100,000.00 in back taxes. The business and family struggled thereafter. In mid 2004, after years of alleged unreported spousal abuse, Yun was convicted of spousal battery after Ma finally called the police. In 2005, Yun allegedly began to frequent local casinos, which exasperated his financial situation. Yun was forced to close his garment factory in early 2006, and in May 2006, Ma moved out and filed for divorce. A week later, Yun picked up Ashley and Alexander from their new apartment for a supposed Sunday afternoon at the movies and shopping. Around 4:00 PM, Yun drove to a vacant alley near his closed factory, where he allegedly doused the interior of his SUV with gasoline and then ignited the fire.
NORTH CAROLINA v. RICHARD DOWEN was a 2005-7 North Carolina court decision. In September 2007, Richard Dowen, Jr., then 34, plea bargained "guilty" to second-degree murder and felony child abuse for the death of his 4 year-old step-son, Randolph Thomas, and was sentenced to 26 years in prison. His wife, Amber Thomas Dowen, then 22, also pled to the same charges, but received only a 13 year prison sentence.
Richard Dowen, Jr. was an OTR semi-truck driver, who owned his own rig, and hauled freight throughout the country on a contract basis. Dowen, 29, had married 17 year-old Amber Thomas, in Texas, in 2002. Thomas already had an infant son out of wedlock, Randolph Thomas, and the couple thereafter had a daughter of their own in mid-2004. The couple spent most of their life on the road, living out of the cab of their semi-truck. Amber Dowen also was pregnant at the time of her arrest.
On August 31, 2005, Richard Dowen stopped his rig alongside a highway in Durham, North Carolina, and flagged down a passing Deputy Sheriff, who was asked for directions to the nearest hospital. The Dowens told the Deputy that their son was sick, and needed medical attention. When the Deputy caught a brief look at the 4 year-old, he immediately detained the Dowens, and called for an ambulance. Randolph Thomas died the next day at Duke Hospital. The 4 year-old died from malnutrition, dehydration, and complications from pneumonia. Randolph Thomas, who was 3 feet tall, weighed only 19.5 pounds at time of death. The 4 year-old had been starved to death. He also had signs of prior physical injuries. The Dowens never provided an explanation for his starvation, but their 15 month old daughter showed no signs of having been abused.
The difference in the prison sentences given Richard Dowen and Amber Dowen was attributed to the fact that a court psychologist described Richard Dowen, Jr. as a controlling and domineering husband, who instilled fear in his wife. Richard Dowen, Jr. gradually started to physically abuse his young step-son, and to punish the youngster by withholding food from the child. Amber Dowen, who was also mentally ill as a result of an abusive childhood, did what she thought she could to feed her son without incurring additional wrath from her husband.
Richard Dowen, Jr., was the product of a comfortable Jehovah's Witness upbringing in California. It is believed that Richard Dowen, Sr. was an Elder in the family's local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Linda Dowen stated that she had home-schooled Richard Jr. and his two siblings, and that Richard Jr. had been a dedicated Jehovah's Witness, who went along with the program so long as he had lived at home. However, in his later teenage years, Richard Jr. began to show signs of developing mental illness -- schizophrenia, paranoia, etc. It is not known if his JW parents got him any professional help. Dowen had been estranged from his parents since leaving home after graduating high school.
TEXAS v. OTTY SANCHEZ is an ongoing 2009 Texas capital murder case. Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez was born on June 30, 2009, in San Antonio, to Jehovah's Witness Mother Otty Sanchez, age 33, and Scott W. Buchholz. Otty Sanchez moved out of the unmarried couple's rented home on July 20, and moved in with her own Jehovah's Witness Mother, who was already housing another daughter and her two children. Baby-daddy tried unsuccessfully to get Otty Sanchez to return home. On Saturday, July 25, Sanchez did take Baby Scotty to the home of the paternal grandparents, but quickly fled in a rage with the baby when she was asked for copies of the baby's birth certificate and SS card.
Around 4:30 AM, on Sunday morning, July 26, 2009, Otty Sanchez's sister discovered the skinned and severely mutilated body of Baby Scotty. Otty Sanchez had not only stabbed to death her newborn child, but she had even slowly eaten its brain, nose, and toes. Sanchez quickly confessed to the murder and told detectives that she was hearing voices and that the Devil made her kill her baby. The crime scene was so disturbing that the San Antonio Police Department had to provide counseling services for the officers who entered the home. According to Greg Garcia, Sanchez's first cousin, Otty Sanchez, who was employed as an in-home health care provider for senior citizens, had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia and more recently with postpartum psychosis. At some point after the murder, Sanchez also stabbed herself two or more times.
ILLINOIS v. BETTY WHITTEN is a 2006-8 Illinois murder court case. In April 2006, an African-American Jehovah's Witness Mother, named Betty Whitten, 57, of St. Charles, Illinois, and a member of the Elgin Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, stabbed to death her 34-year-old disabled daughter, Nyakiambi Whitten. Soon after her arrest, Betty Whitten was declared mentally unfit to stand trial, and was committed to a state mental health inpatient treatment facility until she was able to stand trial. In March 2008, Betty Whitten pleaded "guilty but mentally ill" to second-degree murder in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. Whitten could be eligible for parole after 8 years in prison, but her time does not start so long as she is committed to a mental health treatment facility.
Betty Whitten reportedly had been treated for depression for several years. Whitten was the primary caregiver for her oldest daughter, who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and impaired vision at the age of two. On Monday morning, April 3, 2006, at the Whitten's rural home, Betty Whitten first threatened 24 year-old daughter, Rachael Whitten, but she fled the house, and eventually called her father and then the police from a neighbor's telephone. Betty Whitten then stabbed Nyakiambi Whitten three times with a kitchen knife. One stab wound to the heart was fatal. Before police could arrive, Whitten loaded the corpse into her car, apparently for the purpose of disposing of it in the nearby Fox River. Whitten stopped her car on a St. Charles bridge at a point before it was over the river. An unwitting police officer came up behind Whitten's stopped car. When the officer turned on his lights, Whitten accelerated, crashed through the bridge's guardrail, and landed upside down on a bike path below. There, police discovered the corpse and Whitten, who had a minor head injury.
Betty Whitten later told police that "demons" had cause her to do what she did. Whitten also stated that she believed Nyakiambi was being abused and that her husband had been unfaithful. The father, Earstin Whitten, 57, who was either an "Elder" or "Ministerial Servant" in the Elgin Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, stated that although Nyakiambi (Swahili for "first daughter") had various disabilities which required her to be constantly supervised, she had attended special education programs in St. Charles schools and at Elgin Community College until she was 21.
In June 2006, Betty Whitten filed for divorce from Earstin Whitten, claiming "extreme and repeated mental cruelty", as well as adultery. Betty Whitten also reportedly formally accused her husband of the same with their local JW Congregation. Earstin Whitten denied Betty's charges and apparently contested the divorce, but the outcome of the divorce (pending as of March 2008) and any congregation action is unknown. However, in March 2007, Earstin Whitten relocated to Reno, Nevada, "to start a new life", per Rachael Whitten, who stated that she was joining her father there.
ILLINOIS v. LAWRENCE SLACK and ILLINOIS v. CONSTANCE SLACK were two 2006 Illinois criminal court cases which involved a homeschooling family of African-American Jehovah's Witnesses who lived in Chicago, Illinois. Larry Slack and his wife, Constance Slack, home-schooled their six children, despite the fact that Larry was a full-time mechanic at the Chicago Transit Authority, and Constance was a full-time Registered Nurse at La Rabida Children's Hospital.
Cook County Judge Sumner lamented, "Of the cases I have presided over myself or seen go through this building, this situation, bar none, is the worst I have ever seen or heard." The two Jehovah's Witness Parents were convicted of the beating death of their 12 year-old daughter, Laree Slack, and the beating of their 6 year-old son, in November 2001. Judge Sumner stated that Laree Slack suffered more torture than many prisoners of war who undergo human rights violations. Larry Slack was convicted of committing aggravated battery on his 6 year-old son, and first degree murder of Laree Slack. Larry Slack was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Constance Slack, who cut a deal with prosecutors to testify against her husband, pleaded guilty to murder, but received only a 25 year sentence.
Typical of parents who are Jehovah's Witnesses and/or home-schoolers, Larry and Constance Slack were strict disciplinarians. Each of their six children, who in November 2001, ranged in age from 6 to 16, were assigned various chores and responsibilities in the Slack household. Given that both parents worked full-time jobs in the Chicago area, these children must have also been responsible for their own home-school education.
On Saturday night, November 10, 2001, Larry and Constance had been planning to go out to eat, but Constance could not find her wallet and credit cards, which she believed to be in one of her jackets or work smocks. Larry ordered all six children to search for them. Dissatisfied that the 6 year-old son was not looking hard enough, Larry Slack lashed the child several times with a thick Romex electrical cable, which the Slacks regularly used to discipline their children. When Constance's wallet and credit cards continued to go unfound, the parents became enraged over finding some laundry scattered about the house. Twelve year-old, Laree Slack, was in charge of washing and putting away the family's clothing, so Constance Slack's lost items were blamed on Laree.
The 41 year-old, 400+ pound, Larry Slack then began to beat Laree with the Romex electrical cable, in sessions of 39-blows, for what eventually amounted to nearly two hours of beating. At first, Larry bent his 12 year-old daughter over a large metal toolbox. When Laree would not hold still during her beating, Larry ordered his two older teenage boys to tie her face down onto a metal bedframe, where Larry continued the lashing. When Laree began to scream, Constance first stuck a sock in her mouth. When Laree eventually spit out the sock, Larry ordered his sons to fetch a towel to stuff in her mouth. He then tied a scarf over the towel and used a stick to wind the scarf like a tourniquet. Lalece Slack, then 13, testified at the murder trial that she went to the basement of her family's home and turned on the washer and dryer to drown out the sounds of her sister being beaten upstairs.
The full details of what occurred during those two hours of torture are blurred. Both Larry and Constance took turns beating the child with electrical cables that may have varied in thickness. At some point, exhausted from delivering the dozens of blows, Larry even took a break to watch television. In what seems to indicate that something even more disgusting may have been going on in this Jehovah's Witness household, at some point, Larry ordered the two teenage sons to pull off her pants. At some point, Larry also cut off his daughter's shirt. Larry repeatedly ordered the teenage boys to flip Laree over from side to the other for her next session of 39-blows. The flailing mostly naked girl was beaten bloody on her back, chest, stomach, and legs. When the beating finally stopped, Larry ordered the boys to carry Laree down to the basement and place her on an old mattress, where she eventually died of internal bleeding.
The Slacks told police that they had meted out the "biblical punishment" of "40 lashes minus one" only three times. At trial, Larry Slack denied intending to harm Laree - only discipline her. Larry even testified that Laree smiled at him and spoke with him after the beating. However, a Medical Examiner testified that Laree had actually been hit "hundreds" of times. Various neighbors described Larry and Constance Slack as "devout Jehovah's Witnesses", who occasionally had attempted to convert them to their WatchTower religion. A reporter who went to view the Slack's residence after the tragedy reported that he found WatchTower and homeschooling publications scattered on an exterior staircase.
MICHIGAN v. RAPHAEL THOMAS was a 2006-7 Michigan court case. On Thursday evening, April 27, 2006, at around 10:30 PM, Raphael Thomas and his live-in baby's-momma, Betty Jenkins, were supposedly "involved in a Bible study" at their Detroit duplex apartment, when Thomas and Jenkins began to argue. Thomas grabbed a can of red spray paint, and began writing various Bible-related words on interior walls throughout their apartment. The argument escalated, and the attention of neighbors was attracted to the couple's screaming and Thomas' throwing furniture, books, and other items, including their television and stereo, out of the apartment. Two neighbors reportedly called 9-1-1, but no police responded. Neighbors also called 9-1-1 at midnight and 1:00 AM, as the argument continued. Police finally responded after the 1:00 AM call, which reported a man spray painting Bible-related words on parked autos near Thomas' apartment. However, the police apparently did not make contact with Thomas.
At some point in all this, Thomas grabbed his 9 month-old son and left the apartment. After another call from neighbors to 9-1-1, at around 2:20 AM, police responded a second time and finally located Raphael Thomas as he was walking in the neighborhood. Thomas had a knife and was stabbing himself. Thomas' son was thereafter found death in the backyard of a nearby home. The infant had been literally butchered. Thomas told police that he had killed his son to free him from "the evils of the earth".
Thomas was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he received over 200 stitches for 30 self-inflicted knife wounds. Thomas was eventually admitted to the hospital's psychiatric section, where Detroit authorities charged him with the murder of his son. Outcome unknown. The media reported that amongst the items which Thomas had tossed from his apartment were his "Bible" and "other items that may be linked to a Jehovah's Witness". In fact, one of those books was the official songbook of the WatchTower Society, entitled, "Sing Praises To Jehovah", to which noone but those who attend a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses would have access. Interestingly, the couple's argument started about the time of night when attendees of the JW's mid-weekly "Theocratic Ministry School" and "Service Meeting" would have arrived home from such.
FLORIDA v. CHARLES EDWARD MOORE was a 1988 Florida murder court case. In April 1988, Charles Edward Moore, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, attacked with a crowbar his 54 year-old Jehovah's Witness Mother, Lula Mae Moore, his 17 year-old nephew, and a non-relative, after a family argument. Charles E. Moore apparently had a history of mental illness, crime, and drug use. Moore's JW Mother, who was an 18 year employee at Broward General Medical Center, and mother of six children, apparently had given her (possibly youngest) son an ultimatum to either submit to psychiatric help or move out of her house. The argument escalated to the point where Moore not only beat the three victims with the crowbar, but he also stabbed his mother at some point. She was DOA at her place of employment.
Charles Edward Moore was arrested and charged with first degree murder of his mother, attempted first degree murder of his nephew, and aggravated assault of the non-relative. Moore was ruled "mentally incompetent" to stand trial, and was sent to a Florida mental health facility. A year later, in April 1989, when Moore was still deemed "mentally incompetent" to stand trial, the state requested, and a judge agreed, that Moore be court-ordered to take powerful anti-psychotic drugs that the state hoped would make Moore competent to stand trial. Moore opposed being forced to take the drugs, and told the judge, ''I've done the best I can without any medicine. ... I feel like they're [apparently the state psychiatrists] trying to kill me. My behavior has been outstanding since I've been in there. If you want to see me worse than what I am, then bring the medicine to me.'' Outcome unknown.
PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES HOMER was a 1984-7 Pennsylvania murder trial. In 1987, James Homer, 34, was convicted of murdering his 9 year-old daughter, Joyce Homer, and his 13 year-old step-daughter, Danetta Bullock, at the Philadelphia area home of this family of Jehovah's Witnesses. James Homer was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison without parole, as well as 10 to 20 years for arson, which runs concurrently with the two life sentences. On the evening of February 10, 1984, the fire department was called to the home of James and Denise Homer, where the bodies of Danetta and Joyce were found in a charred first-story front bedroom. James Homer initially claimed to have been at work when the fire started on the mattress. Denise Homer, 30, and daughter Sandy Homer, 10, were at a dentist's office. The scenario apparently was suspicious. On February 14, James Homer checked himself into the hospital for "stress". On discharge, a week later, James Homer was arrested for the murder of the two girls, and setting the fire to cover such up. Homer eventually confessed to strangling to death the two girls, as well as setting the fire and staging the scene. Homer claimed that he and the girls had been watching television when an argument erupted between Danetta and he over which program to watch, which led to him striking her with a bed slat, which then caused him to also attack Joyce Homer. Homer then finished the job by strangling them. Some authorities doubted Homer's tale, and suspected that he had been sexually abusing one or both girls. Such was evidently never proven, and Homer never confessed to such.
The first two children each had a $10,000.00 life insurance policy. Vicki, the third child, had a $30,000.00 life insurance policy. After Vicki died, Van Der Sluys and his wife, Jane, then had three more children. Although there was no indication that Jane knew about the murders, a Prosecutor told a reporter that the only reason those three children were not killed was because Jane would not allow Stephen to buy a life insurance policy on them. In the 1986 murder trial, Stephen Van Der Sluys was convicted of second-degree murder for the suffocation death of Heather. Van Der Sluys pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in Vicki's death, which was also believed to have been by suffocation. Van Der Sluys was sentenced to 25 years to life for the 1977 murder, and 8 1/2 to 25 years for the 1979 slaying. The Prosecutor decided not to pursue the 1976 death. The primary motive in the deaths was the insurance money given the family's history of financial problems.
However, Micah Colbert died two days later from the original injuries, which were determined to have resulted from physical abuse. Both JW Foster Parents were charged in Micah's death. However, after further investigation, the local Martinsburg prosecutor dropped the charges against Stanley Colbert. Then, that same West Virginia prosecutor dropped the charges against Veena Colbert -- despite the fact that psychiatric testing found that Colbert was legally competent to stand trial. That genius prosecutor reasoned that since it had been determined that Veena Colbert was suffering from "multiple personalities disorder", that Colbert could not be convicted on the element of "criminal intent". Needless to say, there are few other locales in the United States where a baby could be beaten to death and noone would have at least been prosecuted in a court of law. Was the JW Husband totally oblivious to his JW Wife's mental illness, which was insufficient to deem her incompetent to stand trial? Did the JW Husband owe no legal duty to protect that baby? Something tells me there was more to this story than ever made the local newspaper.
In October 1984, James Alan Day, age 36, of Evansville, Indiana, waited until his wife, Candace Day, age 36, left for work in the early A.M. hours at the local branch of the United States Postal Service, before he shot and killed the couple's six sleeping children, ages 6 to 15, and then also shot himself in the head. The couple had only reconciled two weeks previous after an 18 month separation during which Candace Day had filed for divorce. Candace Day stated that James A. Day had been despondent even after the couple's reconciliation, and that he was contemplating quitting his job at Evansville's Whirlpool Corporation appliance factory. Co-workers reported that James Day was a loner and quiet person who kept to himself. Some co-workers were aware that Day had many "numerous personal problems", and Day's supervisor had even suggested that Day seek counseling. Neighbors described James Day as a "strict but conscientious father". Candace Day also described her husband as a "good father", and as a "loving father". James Day's mother, Marcella Day, told reporters: "God knows what was in his mind; whether he was responsible or not responsible for what he did. It's not for us to judge."
Reuben Meeler, the Elder at the Evansville Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses which James Day and his family attended, conducted the funeral. Interestingly, Meeler counseled those present to not blame themselves for this tragedy, but rather to pay more heed to other people's problems in the future. "Many people turn their backs on trouble. Instead of passing it off and not getting involved, maybe we should get involved. Maybe we should try to give them help. ... This incident is history; it's over; past; and we can't do anything about it", stated Reuben Meeler.
JAMES HOLMES FAMILICIDE. In November 1982, James Holmes, 37, shot and killed his Jehovah's Witness Wife, Patricia Holmes, 29, and their 6 year-old son, Jason Holmes, inside the family's Pennellville, New York mobile home, before also shooting and killing himself. Each were found with a single 12 gauge shotgun wound to the head. Patricia McIntyre, and her sister Deborah McIntyre, had been reared as JWs in the North Syracuse, New York Congregation of JWs by Harry and Mary McIntyre. Patricia had married James Holmes in 1974 (interesting given that Armageddon was going to occur in 1975), which was James Holmes second marriage. Holmes' first wife was Mary Pietraallo, of Westerly, Rhode Island, and they had an 11 year-old son, Jimmy Holmes. Holmes mother, Catherine Holmes, lived in the same mobile home park.
Larry Hilton, an Elder at the Baldwinsville, New York Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses went into damage control mode as reporters attempted to ferret out the reasons behind this double murder-suicide. Hilton and other JWs quickly stated that James Holmes was no Jehovah's Witness. Hilton also repeatedly referred to Holmes' many mental problems, Holmes' rearing as a Mormon, and anything else that he could think of to deflect any attribution of the murders-suicide to his own WatchTower religion. However, Larry Hilton's loose-lips still provided some significant hints about what all led up to the Holmes double murder-suicide.
Interestingly, Hilton acknowledged that he had been conducting a "home bible study" with Holmes for "about a year". Hilton initially claimed that he was "studying" with James Holmes simply because Holmes wanted to know more about his wife's religion. Non-JWs should know that JW Elders do not waste a year of "studying" on someone who is simply curious about WatchTower doctrine. In fact, Larry Hilton was even violating WatchTower Society recruiting policy that said that no JW, much less a busy "Elder", should spend more than "six months" studying with a potential recruit, unless that person is clearly working toward membership, and simply needs additional time. Either Hilton was violating that WatchTower directive, or James Holmes was actively pursuing membership sufficient to justify Hilton's waiver of the rule.
Larry Hilton also disclosed that the various mental problems which he used to demean James Holmes ranged back to about a year before the murders-suicide, which was about the same time that Hilton acknowledged that he started studying with Holmes. James Holmes was employed as an Assistant Manager at the nearby Mattydale K-Mart. Holmes took a medical leave from his job from September 1981 to February 1982. Hilton also revealed that Holmes had admitted to an affair, and became obsessed with the idea that he may have contracted a STD. Holmes allegedly also became obsessed with the idea that he had contracted some other incurable disease, and that he was going to die, and that Holmes had even visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Larry Hilton also alleged that James Holmes suffered a "nervous breakdown" in November 1981, which would have been in the very middle of Holmes' medical leave from K-Mart. Hilton later claimed that he had been "studying" with James Holmes only because Holmes had asked Hilton to do so to help him recover from his mental problems.
Probably the most honest and most accurate "witnesses" were the Holmes' mobile home park neighbors, who had no reason to "spin" either way. Several different neighbors stated that James Holmes would use his Bible to reprove children in the park for their various shortcomings, and that Holmes had given religious literature to some of the children. None of the neighbors mentioned nor had a clue about Holmes being reared as a Mormon. Multiple neighbors stated that all three Holmes' family members attended services at the local Kingdom Hall three or four times per week.
Police also stated that they found notes from James Holmes to Patricia Holmes inside the family's mobile home which contained references to James Holmes needing to convert to the JWs in order to save his marriage. Police also indicated that a suicide note mailed to a friend stated that Holmes was going to do what he did because he loved his wife and son. I have a feeling that if the exact wording of all those notes were known that those familiar with "WatchTower World" would know exactly what happened. Either James Holmes' mental problems were sparked by his entry into "WatchTower World", or James Holmes mental problems were exacerbated by such -- and the end result was three dead people.
The record shows that Mrs. Wade's illness includes a systemized set of delusions by which she is able to maintain that as a child she was transported to Earth from the planet La Moria in the galaxy of Andromeda, and has since the age of 13 been regularly corresponding, by way of a messenger, with her family remaining there. Mrs. Wade also believes that her children will be able to receive messages from La Moria when they reach adolescence in spite of the fact that they are "part Earthling." Dr. Morrison also testified that Mrs. Wade's condition would not change in the foreseeable future and that there were no social or mental health services available "that would help her beyond what she has already received." Ralph Wade apparently has an intelligence level which is within the "borderline range," and while he can do a reasonable job of taking care of himself he could not be expected "to cope with the problems of child rearing." Dr. Morrison also testified that the children are normal and active, and that, in effect, the necessity of their adjusting to, accepting, or compensating for the delusional peculiarities of their mother if they were to live with her would have a devastating effect on their future well-being.
Several witnesses testified that when asked about her plans for the future care of her children Mrs. Wade consistently responded by stating that no plans were necessary because of the imminence of the "millennium." The parents suggest that this disregard for the future care of the children cannot be considered as evidence supporting a decision to terminate because it is part of Mrs. Wade's religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness. As a witness for the state, Mr. Forrest Farmer -- an "overseer" of the Witness faith -- testified that the parental obligations of Witnesses include the responsibility "to educate their children, to materially care for their children and to comfort them and take care of them in time of need." Mr. Farmer also indicated that these parental duties will remain the same after the commencement of the millennium.
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