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Fathers and Families

Outrage—Father Shot by Mother Can't See Son,
But Mother Can
April 12, 2011
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Outrage--Father Who Was Shot 3 Times by Mother Can't See Their Son, But Mother , Who Also Shot, Killed Grandma, Can

The outrageous Peter Spitz case, in a nutshell:
  1. Mother shoots and kills mother-in-law and shoots sleeping husband three times, permanently disabling him.
  2. Mother is acquitted by reason of insanity
  3. Mother is being relased from custody and can now spend time with their son but father, who has never been found cuplable of any wrongdoing, cannot.
F & F Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. has been covering this Colorado case. He writes:
Peter Spitz's ex-wife Teresa got up in the wee hours of one morning in 2004, bundled up their young son and took him to a neighbor’s.  She then returned to her house, put a pillow over her sleeping husband’s head and shot him with a .38.  But he wasn’t dead, so she shot him two more times.  Then she murdered his mother who lived with them.

Despite all that, Peter lived.  He’s permanently blinded and has lost his sense of smell.

Peter is an ex-marine and an all around stand-up guy.  So when Teresa was tried for murdering his mother and attempting to murder him, he testified on her behalf.  He thought she was insane and said so under oath.  She was acquitted of the charges by reason of insanity.

That was less than seven years ago and the doctors in the psychiatric facility to which she was committed have decided that Teresa is no longer insane.  By itself, that’s a trifle odd because apparently they don’t agree on her diagnosis or even if her mental condition rendered her incapable of appreciating the wrongness of her deeds.  Read the update here (Westwood.com, 4/4/11). It’s also odd because a few years ago Teresa may have sent a letter to a friend promising to “finish the job” when she was released.  The letter can’t be found, but a person who once had the letter claims that it said “she wants Peter dead, simple as that.”

Given that, Spitz is none too enthusiastic about her release, but released she will shortly be.  That will proceed gradually through a series of unsupervised trips away from the psychiatric facility leading eventually to “community placement.”

In fact, that’s already begun, which brings up the part of the story that’s more outrageous than the first part.  Teresa, you see, has more contact with their son than Peter does.  Yes, the woman who tried to murder his father, did murder his grandmother and considered drowning the child in the bathtub gets to visit with him regularly. 

The man who barely escaped death, who managed to call 911 on his own behalf and who stood up in court, in the darkness of his blind world to testify for the woman who tried to take his life, is being denied all access to his son.

Why?  Well, it seems that while Peter was convalescing from his wounds, the court appointed a couple to be the child’s guardians, they still have custody of the boy and Peter isn’t allowed to see him.

Does Peter’s disability prevent him from being a good, loving and capable father?  It does not.  He’s worked hard to get to a point where he can function normally in daily life and friends, neighbors and relatives uniformly testify to his capabilities. 

Maybe he’s been abusive to the child?  No, there’s no evidence of that and, as far as I know, no allegations.

At this point, if there is any reason why Peter Spitz doesn’t have sole custody of his son, I don’t know what it is.  But he has no contact at all. The guardians have the boy full-time except of course for the supervised visitation Teresa has.

But that’s not all.  It seems the guardians, who are long-time friends of Teresa's, want to adopt the boy.  Peter of course opposes that, but they’re going ahead with their action anyway.  And I’ll give you one guess who supports their bid to take Peter Spitz’s son from him.  Yep, you’re right.  That one was too easy.  Teresa thinks Peter shouldn’t have custody of their child...

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F & F of Ohio Writes Op-Ed for Columbus Dispatch in Support of HB 121

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In Custody agreements should survive deployments (Columbus Dispatch, 4/6/11), Fathers and Families of Ohio Executive Committee Chairman Donald C. Hubin lays out the case for HB 121, a bill to protect military parents' child custody rights.

HB 121, sponsored by Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), is modeled in part on AB 2416, which we helped pass in California last year. The Bill will soon be heard by the Ohio House Veterans Affairs Committee.

We suggest you write a Letter to the Editor of the Columbus Dispatch, a 200,000 circulation newspaper in Ohio's capital, by writing to letters@dispatch.com. To comment on the piece, click here.

Read Hubin's full piece here.

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