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       October 10, 2012 2:09 PM

 I murdered my family


Laura Stone-Mortimer, Thomas Mortimer IV, and their two young children lived with Laura's mother, Ellen Stone, in Winchester, MA, a suburb of Boston. The Stone women were very close. Laura's sister, Debra Stone, spoke by phone with Laura and her mother often, sometimes daily.

On Monday evening, June 14, 2010, Debra spoke with her sister and mother. But when she called Laura's cell phone the next day, to her surprise Thomas answered. "It's going to be a while before she can get back to you," he said. Unable to reach Laura or her mother, on Wednesday, Debra went to their Winchester home and found the door locked. She looked through a window and saw blood.

A bloody crime scene

Alarmed, Debra went to a neighbor's house, asked the neighbor to come back to the house with her and called 911. Emergency workers arrived and broke into the house. Inside, they found the bodies of Laura Stone-Mortimer, 41, and her son, Thomas "Finn" Mortimer, age 4, lying in a pool of blood.

The body of Laura's mother, Ellen Stone, 64, lay in another room, covered by an Oriental rug.

Police arrived and followed a blood trail up to the second floor. There they found the body of Charlotte Mortimer, age 2, lying in a pool of blood in her crib. In the family room they found a large knife sharpener and a bloody knife with a bent handle in the kitchen trash.

The Confession

They also found two notes written by Thomas Mortimer IV, 43, one hand written, one a computer printout. Police believed that sometime between 9 PM on June 14 and 7:10 AM on June 15, Thomas killed his family, then wrote his confession.

They found evidence he had attempted suicide. A car in the garage had two hoses connected to the tailpipe.

Inside the car they found a knife, a hammer, and a bottle of vodka.

However, Thomas was nowhere to be found. Police learned that on June 15, Thomas had called his son's school to tell them he was ill and wouldn't be in. He also called his workplace to say he wouldn't be in. Then he fled.

Police Hunt

Police knew he was driving a gray Toyota Highlander.

Using cell phone towers, police tracked him through several nearby towns. In Andover, he threw the cell phone in the trash at a gas station. On Thursday, June 17, the car broke down in Montague, MA.

A man and his son helped him jump-start the car, but became suspicious, called police and gave them the license number.

Officers asked police in nearby Bernardston, a town of 2,100, to be on the lookout for the SUV. Around 1 PM Bernardston Police Chief James Palmeri spotted the SUV. Thomas tried to flee, but Palmeri pulled him over. Thomas did not resist and said nothing when Palmeri arrested him.

The next day in Woburn District Court, Thomas Mortimer IV pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his wife, his two children and his mother-in-law.

He wore a bullet-proof vest, and several police officers surrounded him in court. The judge ordered him held without bail. Present in the courtroom were Mortimer's parents, Thomas Mortimer III and his wife Sandra, who lived in Avon, Connecticut.


A talented woman and a loving mother

In June 2010 Laura and Thomas had been married for almost seven years. After attending Ithaca College as an Economics major, Laura Stone worked at CB Richard Ellis, an investment firm with several offices near Boston. From 2006 to 2008, Thomas had worked at Proxy Networks Inc, but he had been unemployed for almost a year. This caused financial difficulties and forced them to postpone buy their own home. However, Thomas had recently begun working at a Burlington technology services firm.

Timeline and a motive for murder

On Monday, June 14, Thomas Mortimer III and his wife Sandra stayed for a second night at the Winchester house to baby-sit Charlotte and Finn (left) while their parents were at work.

But by the end of the day, their parents were fighting on the phone. The argument resumed when they got home. The issue: Laura had found a notice that Thomas had bounced a check to the IRS for $2,499.

Mortimer's parents said when Laura confronted him about the bounced check, he "remained calm and told her everyone was hungry, that this was not the time or place to discuss this and that it could wait until after dinner."

His parents left at 7:45 PM. Three people later spoke with Laura's mother that night. The last call ended at 9 PM. This was the last contact anyone had with any of the victims.

Pre-trial hearing: a gruesome summary

At the pre-trial hearing in September 2010, prosecutors presented their case. Autopsies indicated all four victims has sustained "severe, cutting type injuries." They said Thomas cut his children's throats and stabbed his mother-in-law and his wife Laura, who had dozens of stab wounds and a broken nose. Perhaps most telling was his confession.

"What I have done is extremely selfish and cowardly. ... I am ashamed, frightened, relieved, surprised that I murdered my family, disgusted with myself."  Of his two young children, he wrote: they are "in a much better place than they could ever be living with Laura and living with me. ... Looking forward to peace but already missing terribly Finn and Charlotte ... that will be my hell."

One chilling sentence, which his defense attorney tried to suppress but which the judge later released (quoted verbatim here): "I especially sorry to Finn that he had to witness these horrid acts. It was not supposed to be this way. I disgust myself."

Mortimer pleads guilty

On October 3, 2012, Thomas Mortimer IV pleaded guilty in Woburn Superior Court to first-degree murder by deliberate meditation and extreme atrocity and cruelty in the deaths of his mother-in-law Ellen Stone, his wife Laura Stone-Mortimer, and their children, 2-year-old Charlotte and 4-year-old Thomas "Finn" Mortimer V.     

He was sentenced to life without possibility of parole. By entering the guilty plea, he gave up his right to any appeals he might have had if the case had gone to trial.

At the sentencing, Laura's sister, Debra Stone-Sochat (at right leaving the funeral of her family), fought back tears as she read her victim impact statement.

"My family has suffered an enormous tragedy. My life, my family's life, my children's life have been so affected."

She described Finn as a sensitive boy with a great sense of humor, and Charlotte as a girl with "gigantic blue eyes which made you melt."

She ended by saying: "My mom and my sister were my best friends. Love you. Miss you."

If you would like to comment on this tragic case of domestic homicide, please use the comment form below. I would love to hear from you.

Sources: http://callsforjustice.wordpress.com/?s=Mortimer+murder+scene+horrific





"Father admits to gruesome killings," Kathleen Conti/John R. Ellement, Boston Globe, 10-04-2012





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[ Posted by Sandra McLeod Humphrey, October 11, 2012 11:55 AM ]
     He seems so lacking in affect and so emotionally detached. I'll never understand how someone can commit such a heinous act with so little emotion--especially when it includes the killing of young children.

[ Posted by admin, October 11, 2012 1:55 PM ]
     Thanks for the comment, Sandra. I agree. I only included a portion of the "confession" he wrote. Other parts indicated some disagreement with Laura about how to raise the children. Still, given his apparent devotion to them, it's very hard to fathom how he could kill them in such a brutal manner, or allow his young son to witness such acts. Especially the brutal murder of his mother. A very sad case indeed.

[ Posted by Tom Bryson, October 12, 2012 5:21 AM ]
     Hi Susan,

When I read of these tragedies I always think what a waste of lives. Thought provoking post.

Just downloaded 'Natalie's Revenge' - look forward to another great Renzi read. Will do an amazon review later.

Best wishes,

[ Posted by admin, October 12, 2012 8:40 AM ]
     Thanks for the comment, Tom. Yes, it's a tragic waste of lives. I don't know about you, but I had a hard time looking at the photos of those children and not thinking: How could he DO that?

So happy you'll be reading Natalie's Revenge. Enjoy!

[ Posted by sherry fundin, October 25, 2012 6:47 PM ]
     Boy, that really pissed me off and broke my heart. I'm "tongue-tied".

[ Posted by Yehoshua Kahan, May 15, 2013 3:18 PM ]
     When I read about such crimes, I just feel ashamed to be a human being.

[ Posted by admin, May 15, 2013 5:30 PM ]
     Thanks for your comment. Yes, this was a terrible and disturbing crime, but you had nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, there are sick individuals who commit such crimes. Many times they exhibit telling behavior ahead of time, but sadly, no one close to the victim or victims recognizes it for what it is.

posted by SUSAN FLEET   October 10, 2012 2:09 PM  Domestic Homicide 


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