Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dad murders mom during child custody exchange (Lauderdale County, Alabama)

I need to start a list of mothers who are killed by the abusive fathers during court-mandated child custody exchanges.

It is becoming a complete scandal that violent dads like CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL RICH are granted custody/visitation rights after the mother has tried to exit the relationship. Because this is the completely predictable result. Judges seem to have some utterly stupid notion that abusers stop abusing when the relationship ends. This is totally wrong. It often just accelerates, and you put women and children at severe risk when you rank daddy's "rights" higher than the lives of their victims.

I want to see the judge's name who basically set up this murder and allowed it to happen.
Of course, there was a history of domestic violence and a previous protection order that the judge completely ignored--though in this case, it appears to be one of those situations where a manipulative dad successfully painted the mom as the trouble maker. Only Mom didn't blow Dad's head off, did she? Guess the cops and courts made a mistake in reading that situation, huh?

And given Dad's history, what gives the cops the right to call this an "argument" that "escalated"? That's pure bull malarkey. Daddy blew her head off with a shot gun. He just happened to have a shot gun in his truck at the time of this "argument?" (I know this is Alabama, but still.) Looks like a deliberate cold-blooded murder to me.


Officials: Mom killed by father of kids during meeting for parental exchange

By Tom Smith
Senior Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 at 11:42 p.m.

A Lauderdale County woman was shot and killed by the father of her children while they were meeting for a parental exchange Monday morning, authorities said.

Hollie Elizabeth Newbury, 24, 21400 Lauderdale 14, was pronounced dead at the scene by Lauderdale County Coroner Andy High, said Lauderdale Sheriff Ronnie Willis. Her body was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville for an autopsy. Christopher Michael Rich, 31, whose address is listed as 1801 Lauderdale 298, Florence, was charged with murder.

The shooting took place outside a residence at 10881 Alabama 17, which is just north the Zip City Senior Citizens Center. Rich was living at a residence on Lauderdale 8.

The sheriff said the initial investigation indicated Newbury was shot once in the head with a shotgun.

Investigators at the scene found a shotgun in the bed of a black Jeep pickup truck. They found a fired shell casing a few feet from the truck.

Willis said the parental exchange was taking place at Rich's grandmother's house.

Statements indicate Newbury came to the residence to pick up the couple's two daughters, ages 1 and 6. Investigators said the two girls were still dressed in their night clothes.

"Some kind of argument apparently escalated into this sad situation," Willis said.

Willis said his department was notified of the shooting at 9:48 a.m. Rich was taken into custody within 30 minutes at the Lauderdale County Courthouse parking lot.

"He had driven to Florence and parked in the (south) parking lot, trying to contact a family member (who worked in the courthouse) to take care of his two children while he went to see an attorney," Willis said.

The sheriff said while he was in the dispatch office trying to get an exact location on the shooting, Rich's relative came to see him.

"I knew she was from (the Zip City area) and I asked her if she knew who lived at the address and she said she did and she told us that Rich was in the parking lot with the two children," Willis said.

The sheriff said a bulletin was immediately put out to local law enforcement agencies who responded to the courthouse parking lot. He said Ron Lansdell, chief investigator with the district attorney's office, heard the bulletin, spotted Rich in the parking lot and took him into custody.

Investigators said the shooting took place near the driveway to the Alabama 17 residence. The victim's body could be seen lying near the circular driveway. Rich's Jeep was parked facing west in the circle driveway.

Investigators and forensics experts worked for more than three hours at the residence to gather physical evidence and take statements from members of Rich's family.

Newbury's car, a silver Ford Escort, was secured in the courthouse parking lot. Investigators processed it for evidence.

Willis said the couple's two daughters are with members of Newbury's family.

Authorities said Newbury and Rich had lived together for seven to eight years.

"Although they were not married, they went through the court system to get visitation of the children worked out," Willis said.

Courthouse officials said Newbury was arrested Aug. 6 on domestic violence charges. Authorities said at that time Rich also obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Newbury.

"This is just a very tragic and sad situation," Willis said. "My heart goes out to the families, on both sides. But my heart just breaks for those two little girls."

Rich was in the Lauderdale County Detention Center without bail Monday.