Murder Suicide

Killing your mother is unnatural. Personally, I think trying to ascribe a “motive” or a “reason” somebody would do such a thing is a little bit futile.

But the cops are saying that a recent Villanova Law graduate, struggling as a contract attorney, shot his mother over Christmas. Then, he killed himself.

“We’ll never know his motive,” said Marion County Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Sandlin. “What is our opinion? Financial. He had a lot of student loans that were outstanding.”

The guy’s father also died under suspicious circumstances…

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* The EEOC suit against Kelley Drye was brought “for a reason.” You hear that, Biglaw? Other firms with mandatory retirement policies better take a look at their partnership agreements and make some changes. [Am Law Daily]

* Media whore lawyers unite! Cheney Mason of Casey Anthony fame has come out of the woodwork to support George Zimmerman. Still waiting on vital impressions from Gloria Allred. Oh wait… [Naked Politics / Miami Herald]

* Just think, maybe if Planned Parenthood of Texas had taken Tucker Max’s money, they wouldn’t be suing the state for banning their organization from the women’s health program. Nah, they’d still be suing. [Reuters]

* Georgetown Law is planning to launch an executive education program, but don’t worry, they’re not going to be competing with Harvard. They know they’re the safety school in this scenario. [National Law Journal]

* Love will definitely make you do some really crazy things, like watch The Expendables. Or allegedly commit a murder-suicide because your husband might’ve had an affair. Things like that. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

* Kim Kardashian’s dubious defense of the day: “I’m Armenian and hairy.” The only-famous-for-her-sex-tape star is trying to use that as an excuse to get a lawsuit over a hair removal product dismissed. [Fox News]

In mid-October, we brought you news of a tragic family murder-suicide that took place in Westchester County, New York. The apparent perpetrator, solo practitioner Samuel Friedlander, an alumnus of Western New England University School of Law, reportedly beat his wife to death and then shot and killed his two young children, before committing suicide.

As we noted in Morning Docket last week, there was some speculation as to whether the massacre had been premeditated. Today, we bring you an update on the slayings, including information on possible premeditation and additional background regarding Friedlander’s employment history.

Which major law firm did Sam Friedlander once work for?

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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we really do not like to write about murders, suicides, or murder-suicides here on Above the Law. The loss of human life is tragic, and it is even more so when there are children involved.

But that being said, we have news today that Sam Friedlander, an alumnus of my alma mater, was involved in a dispute with his estranged wife late Monday night — one that led to her bludgeoning and the shooting of his two young children — before he decided to turn the gun on himself.

If you think the story can’t get any sadder, wait till you see how the law school handled it….

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We really don’t like writing about murders, suicides, and murder suicides here on Above the Law. They are always sad, the loss of human life is always tragic, and it’s really hard to be funny/snarky/edgy when people have died.

That said, we have to go where the news takes us, and so we press on today with a roundup of people in the legal community who recently met untimely ends. A Department of Justice lawyer took his own life, and an office manager for Townsend and Townsend and Crew allegedly killed her estranged husband, before turning the gun on herself…

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Clare Lenore Stoudt, a 35-year-old mother of five, was found dead in her home over the weekend. Stoudt was a tax associate at Pillsbury Winthrop. According to the ABA Journal, authorities believe that Stoudt may have been the victim of a murder-suicide:

The father of her three youngest children, Reginald Van Graves, 49, also was found apparently shot to death in the Howard County home, and a gun was in the vicinity, authorities say. A custody case over the three children, aged 2, 5 and 7, had begun less than a week earlier in Howard County Circuit Court.

The Howard County Times reports that police say the deaths may have been a murder-suicide. Autopsies have not yet been completed, however, and the investigation has not concluded.

Christine Kearns, managing partner for Pillsbury’s D.C. office, released the following statement for the firm….

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