Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dad with violent criminal history murders mom over child custody (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Another lowlife hero for the fathers rights movement: dad TIMOTHY HENDRICKS.

'I was hearing voices': Teen recently released from jail shots the mother of his child in the head as their infant son sits between them

Timothy Hendricks allegedly shot girlfriend Michelle Ploetz in the head after a dinner arguing over custody

Hendricks had a history of drug abuse

Older sister Jennifer Hendricks claimed he was denied treatment and needed mental health care

By Peter Rugg

Published: 23:42 EST, 18 April 2014 | Updated: 11:00 EST, 19 April 2014

Timothy Scott Hendricks had only been out of jail a month when he took a pistol, pointed it girlfriend Michelle Marie Ploetz's head, and pulled the trigger with the couple's infant son sitting in a car seat between them.

The details of that horrific Wednesday afternoon in St. Paul, Minn., are detailed in a criminal complaint filed Friday in which Hendricks is charged with second-degree intentional murder as well as second-degree attempted murder with intent for shooting at Ploetz's father.

According to the criminal complaint, officers were on their way to respond to a report of a fight on White Bear Avenue and East Seventh Street Wednesday when Ploetz's father, John Ploetz, 54, called to report that his daughter had been shot and the armed gunman was on the run.

Police found the girl with a gunshot wound to the head, unconscious but breathing in the back of a Toyota SUV.

The infant, still in his car seat, was removed so paramedics could treat her.

Ploetz, 20, was taken off life support on Friday.

According to John Ploetz's account, as quoted in The Pioneer Press, the couple had been at dinner at The Little Oven, a restaurant roughly four blocks from the scene of the shooting.

Hendricks, 19, had just been granted a conditional release from jail after a January charge for felony assault. He'd allegedly pointed a rifle at his 13-year-old nephew and pled not guilty.

At the time of his January arrest, he told police he was addicted to 'pot, benzos, and opiates,' with a 'bottle-a-day' habit.

The meeting at The Little Oven was for Hendricks to see the couple's baby. But both Michelle and her father were worried about the encounter, and John Ploetz came too.

At one point during the meal Hendricks asked: 'Why can't this be like it always was?'

However the John and Michelle told him 'he needed to take it one step at a time' and urged him to get into a treatment program for his addiction. Maybe they would get together again in a week.

The four left together with John Ploetz behind the wheel, and the pair in the backseat with their baby. Hendricks was behind the driver's seat.

Ploetz said that he heard a 'pop' from the back, followed quickly by another 'as something flew past his head breaking the car's windshield.

John Ploetz believed Hendricks was trying to kill him, so he stopped the car, got out, and attempted to open the rear door and get the gun away from him.

Hendricks fired at him twice more before John Ploetz fled, the father of his grandson chasing after him with a pistol.

The bereaved father would later tell authorities he had attempted to have Hendricks committed on three occasions for fear of exactly this situation.

The complaint read that John Ploetz 'expressed fear that Hendricks would kill the rest of his family if not apprehended or if he ever gets out of custody.'

Later that day, Hendricks turned up at Regions Hospital, where he was arrested.

While he was on the run, police found an unidentified woman at his address who told them that the troubled teen had talked about his plan to kill Michelle a day earlier. But as he had threatened Michelle in the past without acting the woman 'didn't think he would follow through.' He also threatened to hurt himself, promising 'he wasn't going back to jail.'

After his arrest, Hendricks told police that the family had discussed his son's custody arrangement at dinner and that 'despite the fact that he is on the boy's birth certificate they wanted full custody and he wouldn't be able to see the boy.'

He also said the gun had been in his front pocket, and he'd withdrawn it on the ride home after demanding that they stop arguing so he could see his son.

Michelle Ploetz said he would never see the boy, he put the gun 'right at her head,' and fired.

'I was hearing voices in my head and I just snapped and I couldn't tell you what really happened,' he told police.

When pressed he clarified that the voices 'took over' before he fired, but admitted that he himself wanted Michelle dead as he 'didn't want to lie' to police.

He said he blacked out after the shooting and had no memory of firing on John Ploetz. He was placed in Ramsey County jail on suicide watch. Despite the guards, he broke his pelvis and jaw while jumping over a railing Thursday night.

He went into surgery for the injuries Friday.

Jennifer Hendricks, Timothy's older sister, believes the system failed her brother when he tried to get help. She told reporters that he needed to be treated in a mental health facility.

'Had Timothy got the help we were asking for, this would never have happened,' she said.

Along with her fiance, Jennifer raised Timothy and another brother after their father died in 2004.

'Timothy is not a criminal,' she said. 'He has been dealing with some mental demons. ... We loved Michelle, we fought for Michelle, and we fought for Timothy.'

She said her brother was taking Xanax by prescription to treat anxiety and panic disorders when he developed an addiction.

He tried to end his dependency but failed. Jennifer said he would call her while going through withdrawals, crying: 'My body hurts so bad without the drugs.'

A once promising student, Hendricks graduated from Central High School in 2013 with straight A's.

He met Michelle through mutual friends in 2010 and remained 'absolutely inseparable until recently,' Jennifer said.

John Ploetz and wife Dianne Ploetz released this statement mourning their daughter: 'Michelle was full of life and passions, including Korean drumming and dance, her son, and her many friends. Michelle was a very generous person. And in her spirit of generosity, she will be an organ donor, giving hope to others in need.'

She was also in her first semester at St. Catherine University.

'Michelle had already overcome so much in her life, and to have such a senseless act cut her life short, for no reason at all, has left our community without words,' said friend Christopher Byrd. The two knew each other through a small community for adults struggling with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic blood disorder of Fanconi anemia since Ploetz was diagnosed with at 6.

Byrd said Michelle had become an inspirational figure in the group because often women with Fanconi anemia are unable to have children.

'I know that she spent every minute with her son; she loved her son so very much,' he said, remembering how Michelle Byrd proudly displayed pictures of the boy at a meeting for adults with Fanconi anemia last month in Baltimore.