Phoebe’s ex-husband’s parents filed a motion seeking monthly visits with her son. Phoebe’s ex-husband was a serial killer. She said he worked as an over-the-road truck driver. He abducted women in the different places he drove. She said he would brutally rape and beat them and then dump their naked bodies in the woods. The police believed he was responsible for more than twelve murders up and down the East Coast. However, they only had enough evidence to convict him of three murders. Phoebe testified about the events that led to his capture and arrest during the visitation hearing.
Phoebe: I was the one who called the police and told them it might be him. He beat me for the first time a few weeks after I told him I was pregnant. He raped me two weeks before our son was born because I told him I didn’t want to have sex. I was more than eight months pregnant at the time. When I told him the doctor suggested I refrain from sex until after the baby was born, he didn’t believe me. He said if I wasn’t having sex with him I must be screwing someone else, and he suggested I might be sleeping with my doctor. He raped me using an empty beer bottle.
Phoebe took several deep breaths before continuing with her testimony.
Phoebe: This is crazy, but the news report about the murdered women said the suspect was probably someone who traveled with work. It also said the authorities found very little DNA, and they thought the killer was using foreign objects to rape the women. I almost passed out when I heard that. Two weeks after I saw the news report I found some of my ex-husband’s work clothes hidden in the back of his closet. They had what looked like dried blood on them. I started looking through his dresser drawers and I found his high school class ring, which is something he wore all the time. It also looked like it might have blood on it. That’s when I decided to call the police tip line they gave in the news report. He was arrested two days after I met with the police.
Phoebe said testifying against him at the criminal trial was the hardest thing she has ever done.
Phoebe: His parents refused to accept that he was guilty, and they blamed me. They said it was all part of some scheme I had to keep him from getting custody of our son. Investigators found two of the victims’ DNA on the class ring. He obviously used it to beat the women he raped and murdered. His parents were in court every day. His mother stared daggers at me the entire time I was on the witness stand. Our son was only three years old when his father was sentenced to death row. At first I allowed him to visit with my ex-in-laws one weekend each month. Although they were hateful to me, they were always good to my son; and I figured he had lost his dad, so he should not have to lose his grandparents, too. Both of my parents are deceased, so they are the only grandparents he has. In a weird way, I also felt sorry for them. Losing a child has to be hard, no matter how you lose him.
Judge: Why did you decide to put an end to their monthly visits?
Phoebe: I stopped the visits when my ex-mother-in-law asked me if she could take my son to visit his dad in prison. I had made it clear to her from the start that I didn’t want my son going to the prison. I just don’t want that image in his mind. When I told her no, she became upset and started blaming me for everything. According to her, he had to go outside of our marriage for sex because I was not giving him enough sex at home. She apologized to me later. She also said she had learned from the police that after my ex-husband was executed his class ring would no longer be needed as evidence, and it would be returned to me. She asked me if I would give it to her so she could give it to my son when he got older.
Jackie’s Note: The cases posted in Courthouse Chronicles are real-life court cases that involve real people. For the record, I do not include any of the cases I have actually worked. If I hired a lawyer to represent me I would not want him or her writing about me so that’s why I don’t write about any of my clients. My research for these posts consists of sitting in the back of courtrooms listening to the testimony and witnessing the antics of other lawyers, their clients and people who chose to represent themselves.