A local man committed murder upon his wife over a divorce settlement which gave her $31,000 in savings bonds and $1,800 per month from his pension. In fact, it would appear that the couple had just resolved their divorce earlier that day. Later on, the husband waited for his wife to appear at a rest stop, where he shot her then stabbed her to death, in front of many witnesses.
A few weeks ago, in response to a couple news stories I found, I wrote (tongue firmly in cheek) that people needed to leave the guns out of their divorce. However, murder among divorcing couples occurs just often enough that perhaps a couple words on safety are in order.
A little extra caution
The parties in the Billy Bridges case knew that he wasn’t happy about the property division, but it’s not clear if there was any indication just how upset he really was. He certainly must not have appeared to have murder on his mind. However, regardless how calm everybody appears, it doesn’t hurt to be a little extra cautious, as you never know what will send a perfectly sane person over the edge.
After a stressful meeting or divorce court hearing, the parties should not leave the building at the same time, and it’s often best to let the wife leave first and allow her enough time to get to her car and put some distance between herself and the building.
Change your routine
The other important point about this case is apparently Mr. Bridges knew his wife would stop at that rest stop, so he was able to wait and murder her when she showed up. This plan could have been easily foiled if she had simply stopped somewhere else on her trip.
After such a meeting in your case, it may be worthwhile to avoid places where you can easily be found. If you’re not returning to work (where you’d hope you have some measure of safety), you might consider visiting a friend or just lying low somewhere that isn’t a frequent hangout. It may be that if Mr. Bridges had more time to cool off, he’d have realized that murder was not a good end to his divorce.
Be careful, not paranoid
Sometimes lawyers have a tendency to go too far and make something out of nothing. I’m not advising anyone to be paranoid or to live in fear of murder or stalking. What I’m saying is that divorce is stressful and sometimes people react in ways that are out of character, and it often doesn’t take much to keep yourself safe.
If you reasonably feel that you are in immediate danger (or if there has already been an incident or abuse), then don’t hesitate to call the police. They are best able to help with emergency situations, and they give you additional information about where you can seek help.
If you have general questions about what you can do to protect yourself, contact me to find out how I can assist you. There are steps you can take to keep your spouse at a distance, if need be.