Tag Archives: murder

Widow on the Hill, Lifetime Movie, True Story (update)

I caught this Lifetime movie, Widow on the Hill, yesterday.  Apparently, it is old and has been aired once, twice, or even more times before.  But I had not seen it.  It was presented as a true story, so, of course, I had to check it out.

Turns out, it is real life, but the “black widow” was called Linda Cavanaugh in the movie, a fictious name.  Her real name  is Donna Somerville.

It takes place in a little town in Virginia.  Linda or Donna was a hospice nurse of sorts and was hired by a well-established and well-respected family to care for the dying wife of Hamilton Somerville.  The wife did in fact die and Hamilton and Donna were married less than a year later.

She was seen as a gold digger by his daughters who never liked her.  The movie mentions only two daughters, but turns out there were really three, and he also had adopted her daughter as well.

But when Hamilton dies, rather unexpectedly,  the daughters were suspicious.  He had cut them out of the will (supposedly at her insistence) and there had been rumors about town that Donna had not been faithful to her husband.

Donna wanted his body cremated immediately, but the daughters prevailed and an autopsy was ordered.  He had died of a concoction of drugs and Donna was charged with murder.

http://widowonthehillmovie.blogspot.com/2009/05/first-gossip-then-murder-charge-wealthy.html

Donna Somerville AKA Linda Cavanaugh

She was tried in June of 2004 for first degree murder in a bench trial, rather than a jury trial, and the judge found her not guilty. (Maybe she beguiled the judge?)

She still lives on the massive 345 acre property she inherited and is rarely seen.

The daughters have filed a civil lawsuit against her and I can’t find anything about whether or not that has been resolved except a mention somewhere about a settlement under seal. [See update at bottom] Couldn’t find a picture of Hamilton either.

Who needs fiction?  I think Ann Rule missed this one.

Oh, and she was reportedly studying to become a minister.  My.  My.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16017-2004Jun29.html

http://s2.excoboard.com/Courthouse_Steps_Mavens/147307/1622752

Posted:  05.17.10

UPDATE:  See results of the civil suit here:

http://hamptonroads.com/2010/09/widow-loses-civil-suit-stepdaughters-over-somerville-death

Update 09.12.10

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Filed under Courts, crime, Human Interest, Uncategorized

Casey Anthony defense shifts suspicion to meter reader

Roy Kronk is shown here making a statement back in December of 2008 after he found the body of Caylee Anthony.

On Thursday, November 19, 2009, the defense attorneys for Casey Anthony questioned Kronk in a deposition held at the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando behind closed doors.  See the story in the Orlando Sentinel.

The defense and their investigators have also interviewed two of Kronk’s ex-wives and his son.  His ex-wives are not making him sound too good, but then I guess that’s how ex-wives can be.  The interesting part to me is that his son said Kronk called him before Thanksgiving telling him he had found the child’s body and to watch, he was going to be on tv.  It was not until December 11 or so that the body was actual found, but then he had called the police previously and did not get proper response.  As I remember though he had been out to that site at least four times.

Transcripts of interviews with Kronk’s two ex-wives, son, and a longtime live-in girlfriend’s daughter depict the former meter reader as an untrustworthy man willing to resort to violence. No police reports or other supporting documentation were provided.

Ex-wives Jill Kerley and Crystal Sparks said Kronk physically attacked them. Sparks said she called police, but could not remember if she sought a restraining order. Kerley said he used duct tape to hold her against her will.

Both ex-wives said Kronk tells tall tales.

“I don’t think he would know the truth if it hit him upside the head,” said Kerley, who was briefly married to Kronk in the early 1990s.

Kronk’s son Brandon Sparks said his father told him before Thanksgiving 2008 that he found Caylee Anthony‘s body and would be on television. Brandon Sparks shared the news with his wife.

“We both didn’t pay any mind, though. We both thought it was far-fetched,” Sparks said.

Casey Anthony, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of daughter Caylee. The toddler was reported missing in July 2008.

I have thought there is something just not adding up about this guy from the moment I found out he had been out there to the spot so many times.  Plus because it’s odd that he was the only person able to find the body even though the area had already been searched by amateur and professional searchers.  That’s just my opinion, of course, but it is not surprising that the defense is now seizing on the opportunity to cast suspicion on him, because he is suspicious.

See another article and video of an ex-wife’s statement Here.

For some background on Roy Kronk, see previous post here and here.

Posted:  11.22.09

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Filed under crime, Human Interest, law and order, life, Uncategorized

Huffington Post Writer Kills Ex-lover, Self, in Boynton Beach

Victim, Jessica Kalish, 56

Killer, Anne Burger, 57

Carol Anne Burger killed her former lover by stabbing her 222 times with a Phillips-head screwdriver and then took pains to hide her crime, police in Boynton Beach, Florida, said Wednesday.  Burger later walked into the back yard and shot herself.

Anne Burger was a journalist who had found purpose recently in covering the presidential election for The Huffington Post, a left-leaning Web site.

An editor described Burger as “very excited” about her job and not depressed in “any way.”

Hanna Ingber Win, the associate editor for The Huffington Post’s “Off the Bus” election coverage, said she exchanged e-mails with Burger last week and was happy with her contributions.

“We were joking that she was on fire. She was really pumping it out,” Win said. “I would never imagine this. She was excited about the election.”

Burger began writing for The Huffington Post earlier this month as one of a few Florida correspondents. The job was unpaid, but Win said Burger quickly earned a reputation for hard work and contributing much more than was expected.


The couple had married in Massachusetts in 2005, but Kalish had met someone else.  They continued to share the house they had bought in 2000 for financial reasons.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/10/29/1029bbdeaths.html

Posted:  10.30.08

2 Comments

Filed under crime, law and order, life, Media, politics, Uncategorized

Florida Prepares For Execution on Tuesday (Updated)

Florida has set the execution of Mark Schwab, — again.

Mark Dean Schwab

Mark Dean Schwab had only been out of prison for one short month before he raped and murdered his next victim, an 11-year-old elementary school child, in 1991.  He had gotten an early release from a prison sentence he got for raping a 13-year-old boy.

Junny Rios-Martinez was a  Florida sixth-grader who liked baseball and surfing.   Junny also liked to fly kites, which earned him a picture and short article in Florida Today, a Brevard County newspaper, after he won a kite-flying contest.

After seeing this in the paper, Schwab posed as a photographer who wanted to do another article and in so doing gained the trust of Junny and his family.  Junny’s parents did not know Dean was really Mark Dean Schwab, a child molester who had served time for sodomizing a 13-year-old boy at knife point.

About 10 days later, Schwab called Junny’s school  and pretended to be his father telling Junny to meet him at a nearby baseball field.  When the boy arrived, he found Schwab driving a U-Haul and willingly got into the truck.

Junny Rios-Martinez

Schwab took the boy to a hotel room and bound him with duct tape. Then he cut the crying boy’s clothes off with a knife, raped him, then killed him. Schwab stuffed Junny’s body into a footlocker he’d bought at K-Mart earlier that day and hid the trunk in some woods.

Schwab was sentenced to death in the 1991 slaying of Junny Rios-Martinez, but the execution was delayed by appeals. On Nov. 14, Schwab’s execution was delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether lethal injection is constitutional. In April, the court ruled it is, and in May, Gov. Charlie Crist ordered that Schwab be executed.

His execution marks Florida’s first state killing since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the commonly used, three-drug lethal cocktail is not cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.

Schwab’s execution is now set for Tuesday, July 1, 2008, barring any last minute reprieves.

We always hear a lot about the person to be executed, many times in sympathetic terms because it’s never a happy time, but I think we should take a good long look at the picture of Junny before we feel too sorry for Mark Dean Schwab.   Junny is the one who was tortured, raped, and murdered.  Junny hasn’t breathed another breath since April 18th of 1991.

Let’s Just Remember Junny.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/crime/orl-schwab2908jun29,0,1180964.story?track=rss\

Update:

RAIFORD– Florida’s first execution in more than 18 months happened without a hitch Tuesday, as the state put to death a man who raped and killed an 11-year-old boy.

Mark Dean Schwab, 39, was executed by lethal injection shortly after 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison near Starke. He was sentenced to death in the 1991 kidnapping, rape and murder of Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa.

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20080701/NEWS/442467557/1002/NEWS&title=Florida_execution_finished

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Filed under Church, Courts, Law, law and order, life, politics, Uncategorized

Evidence Destroyed in 1990 Student Murder Case

Bizarre scene.  Picture shows the display of the evidence from the Danny Rolling case for media to look at before the items are destroyed.

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20080619/NEWS/806190342

This brings back memories of the weekend in August of 1990 when these murders took place.  It was a rainy weekend, rained all weekend long.  Thing is, nobody realized gruesome murders were taking place in three separate locations around town.

It was Monday morning before the word started getting out that the bodies of three girls had been found, two in one apartment, and one in another.  Brutal murders, one girl being decapitated and her body placed sitting on the bed and her head on a shelf, the other two new students at the U of F as the fall term was just beginning.  Then just as this was sinking in, the word comes out that two more bodies had been discovered inside an apartment near campus, one girl and one man.

We were terrified.  Were there more bodies?  Would there be more murders?  Oh, my God, now a man has been killed.  Parents were coming to pick up children from campus and around town and taking them back home for safety, residents were blocking windows and especially sliding glass doors as we were told entry was made through the glass doors; they are relatively easy to get open or even take completely out from the outside.  There was a rumor that more bodies had been found, and then more had been found, but that turned out to be false.  Final count was five dead.

A guy was arrested, a perfect suspect who had a scarred face and was acting peculiar, but he turned out to be the wrong man.  Finally, Danny Rolling was arrested, pled guilty to the crimes, and was executed in 2006.  But only after some dumb woman, Sondra London, actually married him in prison.

These crimes have always puzzled me in that they took place in different locations, locations quite a distance apart, over a rainy weekend, by a man who was on foot.  It just was unusual that one person would kill so many people in such a short period of time in such a brutal manner.  Danny Rolling was a small man, didn’t look strong at all.  The man who was killed was a huge guy, over six feet.  I don’t know.  Just strange.

Danny Rolling

See more details about the crimes and Rolling’s execution:

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/predators/rolling/gain_1.html

http://www.fadp.org/news/mh-20061026/ 

Take this link for pictures of the victims and a short video of the coverage of the crimes.

http://www.news4jax.com/news/10055781/detail.html

Victims:

Sonja Larson, 18, Deerfield Beach, Florida

Christina Powell, 17, Jacksonville, Florida

Christa Hoyt, 18, Archer, Florida

Manny Taboada, 23, Carol City, Florida

Tracy Paules, 23, Miami, Florida

Rest in Peace.

Posted:  06.20.08/Revised:   06.21.08

5 Comments

Filed under Courts, Law, law and order, life, Uncategorized