Man murders ex-wife and her family

William Stone, involved in a protracted custody battle with his ex-wife over their two children, committed suicide with a sword after killing his ex-wife and four of her family members.

As tragic and gruesome as these slayings are, they are not unexpected; I am surprised these type of murders are not more commonplace.

For those fathers involved in similar custody battles for their children, the “justice” system they often face in Family Law courtrooms across this nation is anything but.  Fathers are routinely stripped of their parental rights, and in the worst cases, these fathers will lose all contact with their children.

Fathers are under a grand delusion who think they are going to get a fair shake when they walk into your typical Family Law courtroom during their divorce.  Typically, these men are not there because they either want or choose to be there; most divorce cases are initiated and filed by the wife, so these fathers are playing defense.

It is well-known that women are favored during divorce proceedings and are usually awarded primary custody of the children.  There is an unfounded presumption that the mother is the better caregiver and that the “best interests of the children” are realized when the mother has them in her care, custody and control for most of the time.

Though today’s blog is not the time to debate whether or not this basic presumption is accurate, the fact that mothers are given a significant edge in custody disputes can set the stage for this kind of violence.

Clearly, Stone was a psychological basket case to have committed such a heinous crime.  His gruesome suicide with the same sword he used to hack up several of his victims only supports this allegation of mental instability.

But something drove this Iraq war veteran, on medication for his mental health issues, over the edge, and though his death forecloses the possibility that the public will know for certain his reasons and motives, it is clear that the years long battle for their children was the main motivation.

The article stated that “Stone and his ex-wife, Nicole, 33, filed for divorce in 2009 and had an ongoing custody battle over their daughters, aged 8 and 5…Stone asked a court on Dec. 5 to grant him emergency custody but was denied.”

These facts are significant.  This couple was battling in court for their children for almost five years.  The reference to Stone asking for emergency custody on December 5 is also significant, but the fact that he was denied this emergency custody is even more telling.

Why did he feel it was necessary to seek this emergency custody?  Did he feel his children were in some kind of danger with his ex-wife or her in-laws?  Apparently, this is why he was seeking “emergency custody” because a parent usually does not go into court seeking this unless there is a reason to do so, whether real or imagined.

One article alleges that the ex-wife had recently sought treatment over her drug abuse problems:

“In recent months, Nicole Stone had sought treatment for drug abuse, friends and family members said.

When her ex-husband learned of that, he redoubled his efforts to win custody of their daughters, 5-year-old Kayla and 8-year-old Shannon, who spent much of their time living with their mother at her apartment in Harleysville…”

Certainly this could have been a valid reason to seek such an emergency order.

And he was denied.  This is perhaps as significant to understanding why he chose to go on this murder spree than anything else.   Was this denial just another defeat for him in court that followed many others like it after five years before the same family law judge?  Was it the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”?

Stone’s ex-wife, Nichole, was quoted as telling neighbors and friends that her ex-husband was going to kill her.  Why?  At this point, no one knows, but a reasonable answer would relate his death threats to the ex-wife over the ongoing custody battle over the children.

Was the ex-wife poisoning the children against him?  Refusing to allow him to see the children?  Interfering with their parenting time?  Filling the children’s heads with nonsense and lies about their father?  Driving wedges between them?  Since the ex-wife’s family were also targeted in this mass killing spree, what part, if any, did they play in this custody dispute?

For anyone who has gone through what is called a “high conflict divorce” where the custody of the children are a reason for much of the litigation, intense emotions are part and parcel of the environment.

Unfortunately for this fractured family, those emotions are now the cause for an unimaginable amount of tragedy.  Let’s pray for the innocent children left to deal with losing the people they loved the most and who will have to deal with the horror and trauma of such a tragic event for the rest of their lives.

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