D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Darren Mack, 45, asked a friend to pick up his 7 year old daughter Monday morning, and take her to her grandmother's.

The friend arrived with a pet dog around 9 am. The friend met the wife, Charla Mack and the little girl. Darren Mack was there and asked the friend to watch the little girl for a minute while he talked with Charla downstairs.   

The friend states that a few minutes later, the dog began to bark. So the friend went downstairs to see what the problem was.

The friend saw Darren Mack, come into the home from the garage. He had a towel wrapped around his hand and brushed past his friend and went upstairs. The dog followed Mack into the home, and was covered in blood from his muzzle to his chest. The friend checked the dog for injuries and found none.

The friend got the little girl and left the home. After taking the little girl to her grandmother's, and returned to the home.  The friend says that Charla's car had been in the driveway, but upon the return trip the car was gone and there was bloodstains in the driveway.

Police say that Charla was found in the garage, it looked as though she had been dragged from one part of the garage to another, and her car was put into the garage with the keys in the front seat. Police say that Charla had been stabbed multiple times.

Police say that Darren Mack is also a suspect in the shooting of a Family Court judge Chuck Weller, at the courthouse at 11:10 am the same morning. Police believe that a shot was fired through his third story courthouse window, from across the river. Weller is said to be in good condition at the hospital. Weller's administrative assistant was treated and released after suffering superficial injuries from running into the judges office.  

A warrant has been sworn out for Mack on the charge of one count of open murder with the use of a deadly weapon. However, he is not in custody yet. Police are asking that if anyone knows where Mack might be, to please contact them. Mack is described as 5'11" and 190-220 pounds.

Police are saying the couple's three children are not missing, but have declined to say if they are safe or in county custody.

Darren and Charla Mack had a hearing in a contested divorce case scheduled in front of Judge Wellner. Court records show the couple have been having hearings for more than a year in the judge's court.  In May of 2005, Mack was ordered to pay $849 per month in child support and $10,000 a month in spousal support.

Police have searched downtown buildings and the airport and have posted fliers for Mac, which delayed some flights.

There was one quote from a family law attorney which I especially want to include:

"Dealing with divorce, child custody, child support, guardianship, these are things that all of which are highly emotionally charged," she said. "We can all imagine based on the subject matter of the family court what might have prompted this."

http://www.krnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5025488&nav=8faO

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060613/NEWS18/606130373&oaso=news.rgj.com/breakingnews                  (picture of the suspect at both links)

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060613/NEWS10/606130349/1002 http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=5021566&nav=9qrx

Don't believe that domestic violence is anything other than couples problem?

The courthouse was shut down following the shooting of the judge. Downtown buildings where shutdown. They haven't specified, but I would say that traffic was probably halted in the area. At least 4 flights were delayed at the airport.  It sounds as though quite a few people had their activities halted for quite a while on Monday. Yet it was necessary, not only to try to capture him, but because when they lose control at the home, they can often become a danger to everyone around them, and everyone connected to them.

Three children out there have probably been told by now what happened to their mother. And no matter how carefully you word it, this has to be hard. Especially since at least one child was in the home at the time, and would have heard bits and pieces of it or seen the dog with blood on it, even if she did not see anything else. At least the 7 year old is also old enough to know that their father is gone, and be aware of all the tension that surrounds them. And most likely there are other family members grieving for her also.

And I have to say that his family would be trying to cope with the events that have happened, and worried about what their son is doing, and why this happened.

Judges, staff, and attorneys are pretty shook up at the courthouse. The manhunt so far has taken up quite a few police officers and kept them tied up for hours.

What I cannot understand is why Mack didn't send the little girl away with the friend, before he shot his wife. Why have the friend stay with the little girl in the house instead of leaving for the grandmothers home? The only thing I can think of is that the mother may have refused to let the child go, thus setting off this chain of events or at least keeping them there during the shooting.

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Huff Crime Blog has a great post on the murder of Charla Mack and the shooting of Judge Weller here  as well as an update here.

Police are investigating internet dating sites that Mack may have been using to meet and communicate with women. They also say they believe that Mack has access to any type of weapon. But he may have a Bushmaster 223 semi-automatic rifle in his possession. They have not been able to locate his Silver colored Ford Explorer with license plate number 5POR272.

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060614/NEWS18/606140359/1002

Mack has family in Northern California and may have called a cousin shortly after the shootings. The cousin was unaware of the shootings at the time. The cousin has been in contact with the authorities.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/14/MNGQGJE1VM6.DTL

More information about the Judge and some allegations. At least one person who says that Mack's dispute was over child support, and that he had had to file 'Chapter 7' due to the child support.

http://www.topix.net/content/ap/1908821215076080283528882409490856035918

A business credit card issued to Darren Roy Mack's Reno pawn shop was used at a California airport on Monday.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/original/0606/1401_nevada_sniper.html

Secret Witness is offering a reward of $2,500 for leading to Mack's arrest.

The three children involved are safe according to investigating officers, and they are the child Mack had with Charla and two children from Mack's previous marriage.

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060613/NEWS18/606130383/1016/NEWS

A chronicle of the events of the families life. Details of the court cases and allegations against Mack. Mack allegedly had only paid $9,000 of the $40,000 alimony he owed. Allegedly during the marriage, Mack sold Charla's wedding ring right off her finger. Allegedly he had to be court ordered to pay Charla $2,000 at one point so that she could have the utilities turned back on in the home she shared with his daughter. Allegedly Charla was unemployed and had no other income. She was reportedly totally dependent on Mack for living expenses and financial support. Allegedly Mack was not making the payments on the home as he was ordered, and the home was being foreclosed on.
Reportedly Mack had at one time threatened Charla that if she didn't go along with the financial plan that he proposed, he would declare bankruptcy and destroy her. He subsequently did declare bankruptcy and it had not been heard in court as yet. After filing bankruptcy, Mack was still allegedly living a lavish lifestyle and taking expensive trips and vacations.
 
http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060614/NEWS10/606140341

Mack had been to the media making complaints against the judge.

http://www.krnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5022487

Between Charla's murder and the shooting of the judge, Mack is alleged to have met Daniel Osborne and Mack's daughter for coffee. Osborne is allegedly the friend who picked the daughter up at her mother's home. There may have been a long time lag between the time when Osborne had suspicions of Charla's death and when he reported to police. Mack had a student pilot's license. More mention of Mack's access to firearms. A description of Mack's financial status.

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060614/NEWS18/606140366&oaso=news.rgj.com/breakingnews

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Judge Weller was told weeks ago that Mack had set out on a compaign to ruin him. Claims internet and blogs attacks to ruin his reputation.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,199666,00.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-judge15jun15,1,5527192.story?coll=la-news-a_section

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Family and friends of Charla Mack say that she was often afraid for her life and she begged them, that if she was killed to get the story out about her.

http://www.krnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5038539&nav=8faO

The message left for Mack's cousin shortly after allegedly shooting the judge:

"'If anything happens to me, please make sure that the true story about the injustices that are going on in that courtroom get out to the media and the public.'"

More details about the marriage and the financial details.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/3974315.html

My comment: I think the message is getting out very well. Though since the murder of Charla Mack and the shooting of Judge Weller, the news is becoming more about the murder and attempted murder and the escape of the fugitive and nationwide search for him. Though there has been quite a bit of attention to the "millionaire swinger" lifestyle of the fugitive as one article describes him. When I Googled his name this morning, I found more than 345 hits on his name, and that was just in the news section.

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Timeline of murders:

 http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/jun/16/061610379.html

Audio of 911 call on the judges shooting:

http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_166232827.html

It appears that Osborne, the witness to Charla's murder, was Mack's roommate.

http://cbs13.com/topstories/local_story_167100212.html

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On the credit card used at the Sacremento airport- "We think it is a high probability he was there but it was not a 100 percent confirmed sighting,"  They are checking video surveillance footage.

The vehicle hasn't been located- a silver 2006 Ford Explorer, licence plate number 5POR272. Police say he could have changed vehicles.

He had a student pilot's license, but would not be able to rent an aircraft by himself. Never  the less, police are checking both public and private airports and rental agencies. There is a concern that he might leave the country.

http://cbs13.com/local/local_story_167184136.html

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Case profiled on AMW, additional evidence which was missing from the Charla Mack murder scene may have been found but police are not releasing the nature of the evidence, police are asking for Mack to turn himself in, or to at least make contact to give his side of the story. They say he doesn't even have to say where he is.

http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/3101976.html

Funeral services have been made for Charla Mack. Family has asked for privacy. Weller has been at an undisclosed secure location since his dismissal from the hospital. No time frame has been set for his return to the bench. Custody of the minor child has gone to the paternal grandparents, with an open visitation to the maternal grandparents.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/jun/17/061710576.html

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Charla Mack's funeral is today, 06/20/06.

More details about the investigation. Mack's cell phone records have been checked and the records show that he was in the downtown area at the time of the Judge's shooting. Boxes of ammunition were found in Mack's home along with materials that could be used to make a bomb. Also found was an empty rifle case.

And a witness has reported to police that Mack  "discussed hiring him to follow Judge Weller in the hope of proving that he was corrupt." 

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060620/NEWS10/606200370/1016/NEWS

Mack has not only been put on the FBI's most wanted list, police say as a result of tips recieved, the search has now gone global. They are saying what the tips are or what country or countries are being looked at.

http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/3191616.html

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Mack has been sighted in Mexico. He had contacted authorities earlier this week and they discussed surrender. However, Mack did not show up at the consulate as discussed and authorities fear he is on the run again.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200610,00.html

http://www.klastv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5066396&nav=168Y

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The District Attorney has announced that Darren Mack has been arrested. They have not released any details or where the arrest took place, but has said that more information will be released later.

http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=5070134&nav=9qrx

Mack surrendered at a hotel in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
on Thursday night. He is now in the custody of Mexican immigration authorities
and FBI. Reno police say the arrest came as a result of cooperation between Mexican authorities
and the FBI. Mack's attorney's say they are eager to begin his defense, and they say that
he voluntarily surrendered to be with his children and his family and to defend himself.
Charla Mack's family are planning a press conference for this afternoon.
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/14886563.htm

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15 Comments

  1. Soobs said,

    June 14, 2006 at 4:28 am

    Home, I think the child support was for one child, not three. The other two children are from the marriage to the first wife, I believe. I also read (can’t remember where, now) that Mack was afraid of going to jail, for contempt of court, in a few weeks.

  2. June 14, 2006 at 5:22 am

    Soobs, I have changed my post a little. But at least in the rgi.com articles, they refer to ‘their’ children several times. But that could explain why the other children weren’t there when the shootings occurred.
    I had pretty much guessed that child support or spousal support would be an issue here. But contempt, huh? Sounds typical.
    Have you heard anything about who the friend was who was at the house?
    LOL, next time you pick up a little tidbit, bring me the link and I will add it to the post.

  3. Soobs said,

    June 14, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    I know, sorry about the link. LOL I was just reading so much, that I forgot where to look. The friend – Do you mean the one with the dog? Apparently, he claims he was a friend of Darren’s for 30 years (but never met Charla, strange.)

  4. June 17, 2006 at 5:01 am

    I would appreciate a detailed analysis of whether Chuck Weller, as judge, was proper in acts and in demeanor or specific instances of his misconduct in this case.

    Darren Mack clearly went out of his mind, but did Mack have an unworthy catalyst.

  5. June 17, 2006 at 5:05 am

    “‘If anything happens to me, please make sure that the true story about the injustices that are going on in that courtroom get out to the media and the public.'”

    The message to the cousin has gotten out but I have heard not one well-delineated injustice (even through the eyes of a litigant and not an impartial observer). Thus those with more knowledge of the case should come forth and discuss it so we may clear Judge Weller or vilify Judge Weller as the case may be.

    Darren Mack is beyond our judgment due to his murder of the mother of his youngest child, but Judge Weller should be exposed as honorable or honored as contemptible!

  6. June 17, 2006 at 6:22 am

    I agree with you about Weller. But after the knowlege of the murder of his wife and his shooting of the judge, Mack has more or less lost his ‘voice’. Had the judge truly been the issue, he would have fought it out in court, not with a gun. Have you noticed in any of the articles where he ever filed an appeal on any of the rulings? He had the money for countless lawyers. But I haven’t seen one mention of him ever filing for an appeal.

  7. June 17, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    Appeals seldom work in family law cases! Family law cases are never, with small exceptions, black and white, good vs. bad and are hard to put your thumb on who should win even after all transcripts have been prepared!!!

    In family law, most of, or much of, the findings are based upon credibility of witnesses. An appellate court has rules to prevent that second court for substituting its reading of the testimony with one of the lower court’s determination based upon credibility in court (thus one spouse and witnesses can be totally ignored once a judge makes a determination of lacking credibility AND the appellate will thereafter do likewise, absent extraordinary circumstances).

    You are right Darren Mack deserves ignominy.

    And thus perhaps you can claim the truth or lack of truth of his claims should not be explored, but there are many others who during the short two year tenure of Judge Weller felt abused by him, and possibly were criminally victimized, for you do have the right at any hearing involving the substantial rights of your children to a hearing before a ruling. Here it is claimed, and that is all that can be said that it is claimed, that Judge Weller ruled prior to hearing any of the evidence, to prevent harsh evidence against one side to even be presented to him, violating the sacred right in court proceedings involving fundamental rights (the protection of one’s children is the most sacred right, above all others), of being heard, before winning, or losing.

    Here is the unsubstantiated but most pregnant claim of judicial misconduct that may appear, if totally true, which it is not, or subtantially true on the material claims of misconduct, which it may or may not be, to some to be a criminal violation of federal constitutional rights (one that might be subject to indictment of that judge if basically and substantially true).
    ==================================
    ==================================
    [Posted by: John at April 2, 2006 07:39 PM before the heinous murder of Charla Mack and the well-planned (the shooter did make an escape for an untold number of days) irrational and criminal attempted assassination of Judge Weller. John is clearly not Darren Mack nor does John know Darren Mack in all probability. John’s eight year old son deserve a fair (and anonymous) hearing.]
    ==================================
    “Judge Weller came into his court room late after having eaten his lunch for an emergency session that was called. A true emergency. Outside of the court roon waiting was the Governer appointed head of teen sexual abuse, the director of CASA, a medical doctor and my daughter. They were there to expose the sexual abuse of my exwife with my eight year old son. Attorney Todd Torvinen (a major financial contributor to Judge Weller) was there to represent my ex who was not even present. judge weller as he was sitting down at his bench said he had made a decision. Mind you he had not heard a single word from a witness. My attorney said he needed to hear from the witnesses mentioned above and he refused. When I objected, he threatened me with jail time if I did not hand my than 8 year old son over to Attorney Todd Torvinen. All witnesses had sworn affidavits that my son was being molested by my ex and yet Judge Weller released him into her custody. Also, the Masters Judge granted me a Protective Order on this matter.The Master Judge said “your son is at great risk if he returns to his mother.” This is only a very small part of the story. Judge Weller is not only incompitent, but a very big danger to all those other children in that situation. I urge people to take this into account.” [From blog: http://rebel101.com/bad_judge_award.htm ]
    ==================================
    ==================================
    Clearly the above omits details, and salient differences to this version could establish that Judge Weller had no basis to hear testimony. But if testimony was allowable and the hearing was properly premised on a motion to protect a child, the failure to hear any testimony would be difficult to justify and may indeed be a violation of the rights of every citizen to be heard in court and to protect their children, in a court hearing, properly noticed and set.

    It is presumed this was a strategy of a father, to try to force an issue, during his short non-custodial visits with his son. So the issue is was this emergency hearing actually properly set to hear allegations of abuse, or was that a matter the court had not allowed to be set for hearing (you must wait your turn in family law courts for your issue and use juvenile dependency courts for such claims of abuse, depending on the court, the judge and the situation).

    That now, for this other parent, can be further delineated. For with each parent we have a child or children in need of fair decisions and not ones based upon ruling before the evidence is presented (Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts: “FIRST THE VERDICT, then the trial!)

    One of several of my claims were premised upon ruling at hearings, without allowing the proper evidence, clearly allowed to be presented at the hearing, nor the arguments of the opposing party to be heard, prior to the ruling of the court. However, John’s situation is distinguishable from the set summary judgment hearings in my case in that there was some “emergency” hearing which may have had no lawful basis for evidence to have been presented (or at least that could have been a proper position for the court to take, irrespective of the claimed abuse of the son by his mother (and maternal molestation is often ignored and it is seldom claimed). It is not clear that the hearing was one where the court was dutybound to prevent the continued molestation, presuming it was occurring as claimed, or to even hear evidence on it.

    Still, it is a situation that begs for more details and there are others posted by men and women, some with the common denominator that the lawyer on the other side was a substantial contributor to Judge Weller’s first and only campaign, an unfortunate occurrence. The Palm Beach law form I worked for contributed to all the county commissioner campaigns, for the side certain to be the winning candidate, for its work included zoning and other land use issues and absent the donation, access was next to impossible.

    Such donations are a fact of life hard to limit!

    Still when the judge is almost god-like, such as in an equity case in family law, that god should not have received gifts of contributions from one side only for that “god” is only human, frailties and all, good or maybe slightly almost good person.

  8. June 17, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    The reason why John’s claims are not totally true, as seen through my eyes and hopefully the eyes of an objective reader, should be clear:

    Too many details are omitted for John’s short cry for help to be the truth in its totality (a subjective essence always sought but seldom perceived).

    And as to appellate courts, unless a judge is in disfavor, it is clear appellate court will, on many occasions, improplery paper over judicial errors that should, by law and by precedent, actually be reversed. Even without criminal judicial corruption, this lesser form of corruption is what is known in the vernacular as “the good ole boy system” by some and as omerta by others.

  9. June 17, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    Mack murdered a defenseless woman, the mother of his daughter, in what was basically a slaughter, and one of an innocent person.

    Be assured that it seems Mack was a controlling type of personality, who after a marriage producing a child, did not fully comprehend the rights of the spouse to alimony premised upon income capabilities. A bankruptcy did not necessarily change those income capabilities, nor does the divorce necessarily change them, so the order of $10,000 a month alimony and less than $1000 a month child support may not have been any different, substantially, with a second judge.

    Still I would like to know what set this murderer off!

    ““‘If anything happens to me, please make sure that the true story about the injustices that are going on in that courtroom get out to the media and the public.’”

    Perhaps it will prevent the next attack if we can make judges act with care and consideration, instead of like a god mandating from Olympus. But if his case is to be ignored— fine!

    Then instead look at other cases before the judge and allow each to be properly & neutrally delineated. Where there is smoke, we seldom fail, if we look, to find the evidence of fire.

  10. June 17, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    “Family and friends of Charla Mack say that she was often afraid for her life and she begged them, that if she was killed to get the story out about her.

    http://www.krnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5038539&nav=8faO

    Let us honor Charla and get more of her story out and forget the story, if that is the consensus, of this murderer other than to find him, capture him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law, and punish him, when (and it seems 100% certain absent some incredible set of circumstance usually existing only in crime novels) his guilt is proven.

    For no matter what a bad judge does, murder can not be the solution, but you can fight them the only place where they currently can be fought (and this is true so awfully true): in the blogosphere!

    A thread on Charla (or on any such victim exposing the evil incarnate of those violent personalities, gender of male mainly, who uses violence as their final solution), would be wise and useful to further make the point that this crime is without any basis in logic, in emotions or in justice.

  11. June 17, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    Look, I can agree that there needs to be more oversight for judges. Both in family law court and in criminal court. But murder is not the way to attain that goal. As I have said, when Mack allegedly committed murder and attempted murder, he lost his voice. The focus has changed from whatever message he wanted to get out, to the fact that he is a fugitive and needs to be brought to trial.
    I don’t know all the issues in Mack’s court case and they are moot now. Now his daughter is effectively an orphan, his wife no longer has a voice, and though he sought publicity for his cause, instead he is getting publicity for his search.
    If you are looking for him to be a champion for your cause, you picked a poor one. Personally, I might have been willing to listen before the murder and attempted murder. But to me a man who chooses to murder rather than fight for his cause is just another extremist and I don’t spend too much time listening to extremists. Sorry.

  12. June 17, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    Start with this one:

    Friends loved Charla Mack
    JACLYN O’MALLEY RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
    Posted: 6/15/2006

    http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060615/NEWS10/606150356&theme=

  13. June 17, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    Obituaries
    Charla Marie Mack

    Charla Marie Mack, beloved mother of Erika, Elise, and Jory, daughter, sister, and friend passed June 12, 2006, at the age of 39. People walk into our lives everyday, but only a few special ones leave a lasting mark. We were fortunate enough to have found one of those rare people in Charla. She put a smile on our faces. She was an inspira tion. She left us too soon. Visitation will be Monday, June 19, 2006 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Mountain View Mortuary. Services will be held at Mountain View Mortuary on June 20, 2006 at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Charla Mack Memorial Foundation at any 1st Independent Bank.
    [From: http://www.rgj.com/obits/?id=16593 ]

    [Permanently available here, even after removed from the newspapers available files, so to remember the victim, more than her murderer]

  14. The Expert said,

    June 22, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Is there anyone who is really surprised by this behavior. The courts treat men like shit. They take away their house, their money, and most of all their kids, and say to them: “you should be happy about this”. I got news for people. Until the idiot legislatures starting changing the laws in this country related to divorce and start putting some fairness in there, unfortunately we will be probably reading more stories like this.

  15. June 22, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    When a divorce happens, usually everybody loses some.
    Especially the kids. Let’s see. In this situation, she lost her mother permanently, she effectively lost her father, she lost her home, and her security. And she is what, 7-8 years old? And she is just an afterthought in the issues of men’s rights?
    I don’t disagree with the fact that there needs to some changes in the way divorce and custody issues are currently handled. There are problems on both sides. But this is not a good way to get it done.


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