Saturday, April 25, 2009


Officials: 2 Fla. sheriff's deputies fatally shot

In this undated photo provided by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Joshua undated photo provided by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Joshua Cartwright is seen. Two …

CRESTVIEW, Fla. – Two north Florida sheriff's deputies were fatally shot at a shooting range by a suspect who was later killed by deputies after he fled across the county line, authorities said.

It happened around 1 p.m. Saturday when the two Okaloosa County deputies went to Shoal River Sporting Clays and Shooting Center in response to a domestic violence call, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies Burt Lopez and Deputy Warren "Skip" York were pronounced dead after being airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, about 45 miles away, the sheriff's office said. Sheriff's officials identified their killer as Joshua Cartwright, 28, of Fort Walton Beach.

Authorities said the suspect shot both deputies and took off toward neighboring Walton County, where he was shot and killed by deputies.

A witness, Mark Illich was near the DeFuniak Springs intersection where the officers killed Cartwright.

"It must have been like 30 or 40 shots," Illich told The Northwest Florida Daily News.

Illich said he saw one officer putting down spikes at the intersection and knew "something's about to happen."

Then, "(Cartwright's) truck, he started coming. And we saw him, and he seemed calm as a cucumber," Illich said.

Cartwright veered around the spike strip, and an officer opened fire at the back of his truck, Illich said.

The incident began shortly after 10 a.m. when the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center notified the sheriff's office that Cartwright's wife said she had been beaten by her husband, according to a timeline released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the sheriff's office.

The two deputies found Cartwright at the shooting range and began trying to arrest him shortly before 1 p.m., but they reported that he was refusing to cooperate with their attempts to handcuff him.

At 12:51 p.m. dispatchers received a call that an officer had been hit and began their search for Cartwright, who had left the shooting range in his truck.

Deputies shot at killed Cartwright around 1:10 p.m.

The Daily News reported that Cartwright had been arrested in November on a charge of domestic battery against his wife, and that the charge was still pending. The paper said he had worked as a bouncer at a Fort Walton Beach bar.

A man who answered the telephone at the shooting center near Crestview said he had no comment on the shooting.

Another Okaloosa County sheriff's deputy was shot and killed in July following a standoff with a man who had barricaded himself inside a home.

Okaloosa County Sheriff Charles Morris was suspended by Gov. Charlie Crist in February after he was arrested by FBI agents while on a gambling trip to Las Vegas.

Morris and his former office manager were indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday on theft, money laundering and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege Morris and his former office manager, Teresa Adams, created fictitious bonuses for sheriff's department employees then pocketed some of the money.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


"Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?"

The term women's rights refers to freedoms and entitlements of women and girls of all ages. These rights may or may not be institutionalized, ignored or suppressed by law, local custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men and boys, and because activists for this issue claim an inherent historical and traditional bias against the exercise of rights by women and girls.

Issues commonly associated with notions of women's rights include, though are not limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote (universal suffrage); to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military or be conscripted; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious rights. Women and their supporters have campaigned and in some places continue to campaign for the same rights as modern men.

The quote "Mr. President how long must women wait for liberty?" was the last public words of Inez Milholland who was known as the martyr of the Women's Suffrage movement. She is our "Foremother" and her spirit is not forgotten.

After the slew of murderous fathers, ex-husbands, abusers we demand that our patriarchal government stop allowing women and children to be murdered by estranged partners.

Women are saying "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" we will do whatever we can to make you hear us President Obama.

The day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration Suffragists marched in Washington, DC on March 3, 1913. Draped in white robes and riding in on huge white horse, Inez Millholland led the parade.

I have no white horse or white robes but I have a voice and my Foremothers have forged the way and I intend to be a modern day trailblazer. This day has was written long ago in 1913 until now, 2009 and women are not only cracking the glass ceiling, it will come crashing down.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


We have an epidemic in this nation with women and children dying violently at the hands of men. When is our government going to do something about it?
With our government ignoring the pleas for help then mothers will have to do what we have always done and that to get it done ourselves!

"How many more children and their mothers will have to die in 2009?

updated 11:13 a.m. CT, Sun., April 19, 2009

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - A Maryland man who killed his wife and three children before fatally shooting himself left behind five notes, including an apology to family members and hints that he suffered from psychiatric problems, authorities said.

The local sheriff said there were also signs that the family had financial problems.

For residents of the small town of Middletown and members of Holy Family Catholic Community Church, where the slain mother taught catechism, reports of the brutal killings were upsetting and baffling.

"We're all in shock and trying to come to terms," said Kevin Farmer, the pastor of Holy Family.

Christopher Alan Wood killed his wife and children, then himself, in their northwest Maryland home, leaving a gruesome scene that authorities said was found Saturday by the children's grandfather.

The 33-year-old mother and three children suffered "traumatic cuts" and each also had at least one gunshot wound from a .25-caliber handgun, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said. Their precise cause of death wasn't immediately known, and Jenkins declined to say what was used to slash them.

Jenkins said Wood, an accountant at railroad operator CSX Corp., apologized to family members in one of the notes he left at the scene. The sheriff wouldn't elaborate on what else was written in the notes.

The sheriff also said there was evidence that Wood faced financial problems and may have been in debt.

CSX did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Saturday.

The family had moved months ago to the home in Middletown, a community of fewer than 3,000 people west of Frederick, friends said.

Jane Durant, the director of Middletown United Methodist Church Preschool, said she last saw the slain mother, Francis Billotti Wood, on Thursday morning, when she picked up her 4-year-old son at the school.

The boy didn't come to school the next day. Durant, the school's director, thought it was unusual. Now, she wonders if something horrible happened Thursday night.

The dead woman's father found the slain family around 9 a.m. local time Saturday. He had grown concerned after not hearing from them for several days, Frederick County sheriff's office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said.

When investigators arrived at the two-story home, the couple's two sons, ages 5 and 4, lay dead in their beds, while the bodies of a 2-year-old daughter and the mother were in the master bedroom, Bailey said. On the master bedroom floor by the foot of the bed was the 34-year-old father, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she said.

‘You never know ...’
Francis Wood — known by some as "Francie" — returned to her native Middletown from Texas last year to be closer to her family, said Durant, the preschool director. She described Francis Wood as a vibrant, bubbly and loving person.

"I just talked to her every day and she's just one of those people you fell in love with right away," Durant said.

Neighbor Peggy Lawrence described Francis Wood as a good homemaker.

"It wouldn't lead you to believe anything was wrong," Lawrence said. "I'm still sick to my stomach. Just to see it end so quickly is so devastating and makes you realize you never know what's going on in people's lives."

Friday, April 17, 2009


Man cleared of rape after court shown phone footage of woman 'actively' taking part in sex

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:49 AM on 02nd April 2009

 Gary Taylor

Not guilty: Gary Taylor at court

A businessman has been cleared of raping a university student after jurors were shown footage of the sex session taken on a mobile phone.

Gary Taylor, 41, was accused of attacking the 27-year-old woman after turning up at her flat with cocaine and a bottle of red wine.

The woman, who can't be identified for legal reasons, told jurors that Mr Taylor forced her to perform a sex act on him and then raped her in her living room.

But during cross-examination she was shown footage Mr Taylor had taken on his mobile phone during the encounter on September 26, 2008.

Mr Taylor's barrister Karen Holt said the footage showed the woman 'actively' performing a sex act on him.

Judge Christopher Moss QC closed the public gallery before a graphic clip filmed by the woman was shown to the jury.

The judge warned: 'You are going to see a clip which from what I have been told you may find extremely distasteful. To avoid making it a peep show, I have ordered the public gallery to be cleared.'

After the footage was screened, Miss Holt said to the alleged victim: 'You and Mr Taylor were very familiar with each other and comfortable in each other's presence.'

The woman said: 'I don't think I was happily talking to him.'

She also denied 'actively' performing a sex act on Mr Taylor.

The prosecution offered no evidence following advice from the judge.

Mr Taylor, who runs a multimedia company, was cleared of four charges of rape and walked free from court.

The Old Bailey heard police had arrived at the victim's flat in Wood Green, North London, in the early hours of the morning after reports of a disturbance.

She made a complaint of rape and Mr Taylor was arrested at the scene.

Giving evidence she told the court: 'He wanted to be intimate. Maybe he thought he could force me into it but he went too far.

'He thought he could be persuasive and it went too far. He kept trying to kiss me that evening and I was saying no.

'I was quite drunk. He was on top of me at some point with his hand on my mouth.'

Mr Taylor, from Hornsey, North London, denied four counts of rape, including two of rape by oral penetration.

The woman had not seen the film of her having sex with Mr Taylor before it was shown to the court.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How To Play The System

Connolly slayings: Father played the legal game

| 35 Comments | UPDATED STORY

Michael Connolly worked the system.

A family court judge wanted him to get a job, find a home and stop harassing his ex-wife.

So Connolly took a sales position, rented an apartment and behaved for nine months.

McLean County Circuit Judge James Souk rewarded his obedience with unsupervised visitation with his two young sons, a ruling that absolved Connolly of dangerous behavior and threats against the boys' mother.

It no longer mattered that he vowed to cut her open, that a court-appointed visitation supervisor expressed concern about his erratic behavior or that he allegedly violated her order of protection 57 times..


Jack Connolly, 7, Duncan Connolly, 9, and their father, Michael Connolly. (Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Connolly, 40, benefited from a system designed to overlook past indiscretions in favor of giving children a chance to maintain relationships with both parents.

His sons, however, fell victim to it.

Duncan and Jack Connolly, ages 9 and 7, were found dead Sunday in a remote area of Putnam County three weeks after disappearing with their dad during an unsupervised visit. Officials would not say how the boys died, only that they were found in the back seat of their father's car.

Connolly hanged himself about 60 yards from the car, the McLean County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

As she planned her sons' funerals, Amy Leichtenberg told the Tribune she blamed Souk for ignoring her pleas for help.

"Judge Souk is responsible for their deaths," she said.

The judge declined requests for comment Tuesday.

But Souk was not the only one to misjudge Connolly. At various checkpoints throughout the prolonged visitation battle, Connolly was able to convince law-enforcement officials, mental-health experts and social workers that he meant no harm.

"Hell, yes, the system failed Amy," her attorney Helen Ogar said. "Amy was treated seriously [by the system], but he bamboozled people. He was cagey and manipulative."

He also had Illinois law on his side.

Under the law, a parent without custody is entitled to "reasonable visitation rights" unless visits "would endanger seriously the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health" -- a high burden of proof that has drawn criticism from victims advocates and other experts, who say it doesn't adequately account for dangers domestic abusers pose to children.

Judges in family court often restrict visitation to supervised settings when there's evidence the non-custodial parent has just harmed or threatened other family members, experts say. But the judges rarely require that the visits be supervised over long periods of time, especially if there's no evidence of harm to the child.

"When you can show an emergency at the beginning of the case, judges are very motivated and perceptive and try to protect the children," said Denice Markham, director of Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy. "But as the case goes on and there are no problems, then it's very difficult to get supervised visitation. The parents who don't have custody have the right to visitation unless there's serious endangerment to the children."

Leichtenberg spent the last four years documenting what she considered to be dangerous behavior.

In court records back to 2005, Leichtenberg, who lived in northwest suburban Algonquin before moving to Downstate LeRoy, detailed her ex-husband's threats against her and pleaded for supervised visits for their sons. Her letters detailing his threats to "cut open" her parents, commit suicide or harm her were enough to obtain several orders of protection against him.

Between July 2006 and October 2007, Connolly violated court orders prohibiting him from contacting her on 57 occasions, LeRoy police said Tuesday.

McLean County State's Atty. William Yoder said only 13 incident reports were referred to his office. The office collapsed the complaints into six cases, of which five were prosecuted. Connolly pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor for violating an order in February 2008 and received a suspended sentence.

"I haven't second-guessed anything we did," Yoder said.

Leichtenberg filed for divorce in 2007. She was awarded full custody of the children, and he was given supervised visitation.

Many early visits with his sons took place at the McLean Family Visitation Center. In reports filed with the court, Connolly's behavior appeared to become more erratic and paranoid, leading the center to temporarily discontinue its services in May 2008.

A few weeks later, however, his psychiatrist sent a letter to the judge suggesting Connolly's depression would be lessened by more time with his sons.

Connolly's requests for unsupervised visits increased throughout 2008, and the judge responded by setting behavioral goals for him.

"He not only behaved, but he presented very well," Ogar said. "He had nice suits, he spoke very well, and he was intelligent, but he never dealt with the underlying issues."

The judge awarded Connolly unsupervised visitation in October 2008. By Jan. 23, the court allowed Connolly to have alternate weekend visits and Wednesday visits, with pickups and dropoffs at the police station.

When Connolly did not return with the children after a visit March 8, authorities launched a manhunt that ended when the boys' bodies were found Sunday. Less than 48 hours after the gruesome discovery, Leichtenberg's close friend Brandi Tuley launched an online petition to have Souk removed from the bench.

The petition had more than 1,200 signatures Tuesday evening, including Leichtenberg's. "I refuse to let these boys' deaths be in vain," Tuley said.

Tribune reporters Angela Rozas, Carolyn Starks and Andrew Wang contributed to this report.

--Stacy St. Clair, Megan Twohey and Jo Napolitano

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Are Lions

Holly Collins can only be described as a "Lion" and she is my hero and the hero of many other mothers out here! She was able to protect herself and her children from her abuser. One of the saddest parts of Holly Collins story is that she is NOT alone! Women are being "stalked" in Family Court by their abusers and it's in part to blamed in the name of government funding called "Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives".

Literally thousands of mothers nationwide have lost custody to their abuser, in fact “the studies are showing” that up to 2/3 of accused or adjudicated batterers receive joint or sole custody in court. Joan Meier, Esq.

We are a group of mothers that have joined together online in a "Sisterhood" of sharing or losing custody to our ex abuser's. We have blogged, put up websites, signed petitions, joined other groups and we keep trying to receive justice, not only in our own cases but for each other and future mothers.

Here are just 'some' of the nightmares our group has faced:

A mother loses custody to her ex abuser, an illegal immigrant who is facing deportation. How did this happen? Well, a Judge decided in another state that since the child had been visiting the father all summer that was his jurisdiction and overruled what the other state had decided, sole custody of the mother.
This is common ploy of these men to get some substantial "visitation" with the child(ren) and then claim abandonment, residency etc. This NEVER works the other way around for the non abusing parent, which is usually a woman.

Another mother has sole custody, leaves the state (legally), goes to a domestic violence shelter and the ex abuser/father claims "parental kidnapping". Another tactic used by abusers to "force" you to have to be in close proximity to keep trying to "control" you by way of 'forced' visitations of the children. This mother's children reside now in another state than her with her ex abuser. In fact, the ex abuser doesn't even live or care for the children, they reside with HIS parents.

Another mother had her signature forged on a court stipulation that gave her ex abuser "50/50" custody and ALL back child support dropped. One of the biggest reasons why the father wants "joint" custody is because of his child support obligation will be less or nil. The Family Court refused to look at the forgery evidence, the DA refused to file charges and the abuser gained more and more custody. This was even after the father was arrested for his second DUI in less than a year but this time he had the 7yr old child as his passenger. Not even CPS thought that was child abuse or neglect. A CPS worker told the mother that "just because he drove drunk with his child didn't make him a bad father, he made a bad choice". The same father had child sexual abuse allegations against him substantiated but it was reversed by the Family Court Judge that recused himself from the case previously.

The case of a mother who tries to protect her children from sexual abuse by the father and the mother gets supervised visits. That's called PAS, Parental Alienation Syndrome, a common label most of us mothers live with. It's junk "science" that was created by Richard Gardner.

The mother who was beaten to a pulp by her husband and the children witnessed it. They arrested the abuser and ordered him to stay away from the wife and children. Two days after the abuse CPS and the police came and took the children away from the mother because SHE had allowed them to see her being abused and had "endangered" them. With bruises on her face and cuts still healing she had to relinquish her children. She got supervised visits, to this day the abuser has sole custody.

Then the most horrific of the stories is one of Elsa Newman.
Elsa Newman is a 54-year-old mother, unjustly imprisoned in Maryland Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup. She was charged with a crime committed by another person, family friend Margery Landry, who broke into the house of Newman's estranged husband, Arlen Slobodow, on a night when he had the couple's children for a visit. What she found there seems to have been a case of abuse in progress. Please see this article for more information:

If you want more stories, we have them! Our Constitutional rights have been stomped all over by way of ex parte hearings and communications, falsifying court documents and the most horrendous fact that the Federal government funds in the name of "Responsible Fatherhood" are available to give our abusers an edge in court and counties more money.
The injustices that faces our group of mothers, Holly Collins and many others must be stopped. We have been ignored, chastised and been abused all over again by the agencies and governments that are in place to "protect" women and children from abuse and their abusers. Enough is enough and we are NOT going to take it anymore!
We need help to expose ALL of the corruption that exists in Family Courts.

The Mothers of:

Momentum Of Mothers M.O.M.