Domestic Violence, Custody, Visitation and the Children

In all of the legal aspects of a divorce or separation, the issues dealing with the children are usually the hottest contested. Whether it is custody, visitation or child support the disagreements get hot and often whole families are involved.

Wed. there was a shooting at a courthouse. The inital explanation was that it was the result of a custody dispute. However, more details are now coming out.

First let me explain who are the parties involved. Brandy Cook and Robert Hunter were once married. They have two children a 4 year old son and an 18 month old daughter. Also involved are John Christopher Lee Sr., stepfather to Brandy and Debra Parker, the mother of Robert Lee.

First let's go back to the divorce in April of 2004. Brandy filed charges of abuse against Robert Lee. She alleged that he had pushed their son who was two at the time, and that he had put her into a headlock and threatened to kill her. She was pregnant at the time with their second child. Robert Lee Hunter was convicted of third degree domestic violence and placed on probation for a year. Court records also show that Hunter has a further criminal history: guilty of third-degree assault on Nov. 12, 1998; carrying a concealed weapon on Jan. 13, 2000; third-degree domestic violence on Aug. 26, 2004; and driving under the influence on April 14, 2005.

April of 2006 the case was back in court for contempt alleging that Cook denied Hunter his court ordered visitation. She was given a $100 fine and 5 days in jail. Court records show that she cited his criminal history as her reason for denying the visitation.

Wed. they were back in court. The judge had just ordered that Debra Parker and Robert Lee Hunter be given a two week visitation with the chidren. And as they exited the courthouse carrying the children, John Christopher Lee Sr. approached them and began shooting at Debra Parker and Robert Lee Hunter.

The children were not harmed. But Parker and Hunter are in critical condition but some reports are now saying they are stable.

John Christopher Lee Sr., was arrested and charged with 2 counts of attempted murder. He has since been released on bond.

http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/060602/shoot.shtml

http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/index.ssf?/base/news/1149240219129450.xml&coll=1

http://www.waff.com/Global/story.asp?S=4978730&nav=0hBE

I am not going to comment on this one at this time. However, I would be interested in what everyone one else has to say.

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What do you do?

What do you do when your child is accused of crimes in his home? Obviously not this.

In Oct. 2005 deputies were investigating allegations that Jason Jackson had abused his stepdaughter and his daughter.

The 16 year old stepdaughter has said that she was abused for a number of years. But she said that she couldn't tell. She said that there were times that Jackson would hold a gun on her while he was raping her. And that he told her "he would rather go to jail for murder than child molestation." There are also allegations that she may have been drugged at times. So she never told. But her 10 year old sister did. And when she told her mother, the mother believed her.

The mother has spoken with the media and in her words "We've [she and her husband] always had a good relationship, inside the home and outside the home," the wife said. "You can never completely know someone. You think you do, but everyone has got their inner minds and their inner demons."

His parents mortgaged their home in order to get him an attorney and his retired father took on a trucking job in order to pay the mortgage.

But deputies say that isn't all they did. Reportedly they also gave him money and supplied him with documents that allowed him to assume the identity of a deceased brother. And a cousin made arrangements for a place for him to stay and he fled. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

The couple he was staying with after he fled were not aware of the charges against him. But they began to have suspicions and when they learned of the charges, they turned him in.

Jackson was arrested and returned to face charges. At first there were more than 50 charges against him, but that number was eventually reduced to 22 charges of sexual battery on a child, lewd and lascivious molestation and showing obscene material to a minor.

His wife did visit with him in jail when he returned and he begged her not to let the kids testify against him. She has stated that she never even considered trying to stop them.

 Allegedly, Jackson drew a detailed map of his home and gave it  to an inmate asking him to kill his family. The inmate tipped the deputies and they set up a sting.

At a hotel, the grandmother showed up and offered to pay an undercover deputy to kill her daughter-in-law, her 16 year old step granddaughter, her 14 year old step grandson and her 10 year old granddaughter. The deputy asked if she wanted the dog killed too and she said yes. An initial $100 was offered for the down payment with an unspecified amount to be paid after the murders. While the grandmother was meeting with the undercover deputy, allegedly the grandfather remained in his vehicle in the parking lot because he was "too scared". Deputies were able to make a videotape of the initial payment.

Now the grandparents have been charged with 4 counts of criminal conspiracy to commit murder. Similar charges have not been filed on Jackson yet, but they say he isn't going anywhere and they don't have to be in a hurry to charge him. All three are being held in isolation in the same jail. They aren't permitted any contact from anyone except their attorneys.  No trial date has been set for the abuse charges yet. Deputies have said that Jackson made the plan for the murder and enlisted his parents in the scheme.

http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/local/14718280.htm

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-61grandskidhit,0,4287917.story?page=2&coll=sfla-home-headlines

http://pub2.bravenet.com/news/92920030/70921/1

It is hard for a child to tell an adult that they are being sexually abused. Especially when it is the father who has committed the abuse. But this little girl did. And after many years, the stepdaughter was finally able to tell what was happening to her. Two very brave kids. They have not only told their mother, they have had to tell investigators and probably others. And they are willing to go to court. There aren't words enough to express my admiration for these strong brave kids.

And their mother. She thought things were ok. But when her daughter came to her, she believed. And she not only believed, she followed through by getting an investigation started. Now this is a Mother, with a capital M. She believed her kids and she stands with them and behind them.

The grandparents probably didn't want to believe in the charges. And most likely they were possibly told by their son that the charges weren't true. But there is a difference. Their son is an adult. And a complete investigation was done and it pointed toward their son's guilt. And instead of just standing with their son, supporting him in his efforts to prove his innocence at trial, they decided to take the law in their own hands and first they helped him to flee, then they try to hire someone to kill their own relatives!

The alleged father. First he begins raping his own stepdaughter while she was a child. Then he starts on his own daughter. And if that wasn't bad enough, when it all comes to light- the little coward talks his parents into a murder plot. To kill his wife and his children. I guess he thought that with no witnesses, no crime. Thank goodness for that inmate who had the sense to take the proposal to the deputies.

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  Deputies describe the scene in the motel room with the Grandmother. She seemed to very clear on what she wanted done and why. She was going to pay a whole $400 for all four murders. Grandma was pacing the hotel room and when the undercover "hitman" told her to calm down, she told him she had a heart condition and she needed to get back home and smoke the joint she had left there. She did decline to drink a beer before they got started.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/orl-hitman0206jun02,0,5816725.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-lake

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The murder for hire plot may have been in response to a rumor in the jail that if a key witness in your case is killed, you were no longer in trouble. Two other inmates have been arrested for separate murder-for-hire plots. Grandparents are identified.

http://www.wesh.com/news/9314716/detail.html