Love At First Sight

Portrait of an “alleged” serial killer

In February 2010, I met Lucifer for the first time in person (after several phone conversation and email exchanges).  While in the above picture he appears to have aged about ten years in the three years since I first met him, I cannot say he didn’t look just as menacing back then – to some degree he did.  The public is without a doubt wondering how a pretty, intelligent, and educated woman would have fallen for such a thug.  (I have moments myself when I wonder the same thing.)  Well, I am here to tell you that love is dangerous.  I fell in love with the man Lucifer created specially for me.  He read me like a book and presented who I believed, at the time, was my soul mate and Prince charming.  Had I had the benefit of hindsight, I would have run away screaming.  Instead, I was caught up into a whirlwind fake romance and fell victim to one of life’s most hideous and dangerous crimes -relationship fraud.

Some of you may wonder how a woman who had her son murdered could still qualify “relationship fraud” as one of life’s most hideous and dangerous crimes.  I truly believe this to be the case because it was relationship fraud that precipitated these horrible events.  Had Luc not presented a “false self”, I would never have fallen in love with him.  Had I been exposed to the real monster hiding under the button-down shirt and khaki pants (this is what he wore when he wanted people to see the fake self), I would never have gone on a first date with this man.

Paul Ebert, the Commonwealth Attorney, said to me the other day that he didn’t know how I got wrapped up with such a man.  This is after telling me that good people didn’t hang around with Luc.  After spending a couple of minutes trying to explain myself to him, I realized that this might be a losing battle.  Unless you have been charmed by one of these people it is very  hard to understand. (His lawyers and the therapists who were all conned into defending him likely know this well)  I know this because I used to be one of those people who believed that this sort of thing could never happen to someone like me.  I would have watched this story on the news myself and said things like, “See…people like this should not have children, because they clearly are not responsible enough to properly vet their partners.”  I would have said this because I was ignorant and because I was naïve.

Love is dangerous and the natural emotions a woman feels when she has a child with a man can be deadly.  While Luc never came out and told me things like how his mother was found in his house lying dead on a plastic bag (and he was living off of her life insurance policy), he did have moments of rage and anger that scared the hell out of me.  That being said, these moments didn’t happen until I was already in love with the “fake self”.  As these nightmarish episodes occurred, I held onto the memory of the Luc I had first met and didn’t want to believe that this man didn’t exist.  I had been love bombed.

The relationship that I had with this man cost me more than most people will ever experience in their lifetimes.  The most hideous reality here is that this fraudulent relationship produced a sweet and innocent little boy.  That boy is no longer with us because his mother feel in love with an “alleged” serial killer.  His mother was a target who fell into a dangerous trap.  Instead of mourning what happened to this little boy, there are many who feel better blaming his mother for having looked at this evil man and fallen for his charm and charisma.  I have paid dearly for the mistakes that I have made, but I challenge you all to remember a time when you have made a mistake – to remember a relationship that when it ended you breathed a sigh of relief for having dodged a bullet – to remember regretting having fallen for someone’s lies.  All of us have done things for which we are not proud (if you haven’t then you are probably a little disordered yourself), but most of us have not had to pay for those mistakes with the loss of our children.

I ask you to focus this conversation on my son and his legacy.  Let’s not ignore what happened here - making ourselves feel better trying to believe this could never happen to us or anyone we know.  Not only could this happen to anyone, but something similar (maybe to not the same degree) has happened to someone you know.  If you ignore the reality of how dangerous people like Luc are, chances are greater that this sort of thing will happen to you.

I would be lying if I said I couldn’t remember a time when I looked at this monster and believed he was a good man.  Now, however, I look at this mug shot and I see the devil himself.  I see a man who is ugly, menacing, and evil.  I am thankful that no matter what happens to this man, no other woman (or man) will ever be conned by this man into believing that he is good.

 

Justice for baby Prince

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the past two years, there have been many moments in which I have been ashamed of my country.  I grew up believing that if I was an honest person, who worked hard to positively contribute to society, I would always be able to turn to our justice system for help in dangerous times.  When I needed help, however, the justice system was not there for me.  The justice system allowed my sister to be assaulted and for the criminal who assaulted her to walk free, for me to be falsely arrested instead of protected from my abuser, for the Family Courts to ignore the dangerousness of my son’s father, and for several public servants to place my son in the hands of a disordered man who I believe murdered my 15 month old baby boy.  I have lived a nightmare since the day Luc walked into my life.  This nightmare reached epic proportions the day I left him, and since my son’s death has reached the unimaginable.

I am not alone in my quest for peace.  Every person (man or woman) who has found themselves in the grip of a psychopath comes to a point when they also crave peace.  As MLK Jr. stated so eloquently, peace does not only come with the absence of tension.  To a large degree, the tension I had with Luc no longer exists – Prince is gone and Luc has no more control over the person I cared most for in life – my son.  The tension was also reduced the day I realized that Luc was a lost cause, and that I truly didn’t care what happened to him (beyond justice for my son).  Though I will never again be in family court with this demon, it is impossible to truly have peace until justice is served.  While many men and women who have dealt with a psychopath may never receive the justice they deserve, today me and my son received a part of justice I feared may never come – Lucifer was arrested this morning.

The medical examiner report ruled my son’s death a homicide and that he was drowned.  Since my son was only 15 months old, Lucifer could be facing capital murder charges and the death penalty.

This piece of justice feels bitter sweet.  Had the justice system been there for us before now, my son would be here to celebrate this moment with me.  I am not sure that I will ever be able to forgive my country for the terrible injustices that led to the death of my son.  I am not sure if I will ever forgive myself for following the law and waiting for justice my son would not live long enough to see.  That being said, I realize that if I sit back and merely complain without attempting to change the system – I become part of the problem.  When I read the words of MLK Jr., and think about the incredible legacy that he left behind, I feel hopeful.  While many of the injustices he felt during his lifetime have improved, it was not without struggle.  Right now, we are facing new injustices and new problems.  We are facing a crisis directed at our children.  It has become part of my legacy (and the legacy of my son Prince) to see to it that no other child faces the same fate and no other mother will have to bury her son in this way.

One of the most vivid memories I have of my son happened on one summer day (a few short months before he died) when I was dancing with him up and down the driveway in front of our house.  I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and asked, “Are you going to dance with Mama on your wedding day Mr. Prince?”  Prince was laughing hysterically as I spun him around in circles to the silent music both of us imagined.  While my son was not verbal, if he could talk his answer would have been “No”.  It would have been “no” because Prince would never have a wedding day.  He would never be old enough to get married, and we would never again dance together.  I tell this story not to ask for pity, but to ask for your help in finding the justice my son, and every child, deserves.  Justice does not come from one mother screaming at the top of her lungs about what happened to her son – it comes from the power of many.  The civil rights movement was not a movement based on the words of one brave man; it was a movement afoot in a country that was tired of living in the shadows of injustice.  I am tired of living in a country where the courts allow children to be abused and killed by disordered parents and caregivers.  How about you?

Today was a big day for justice, but it was only a piece of the story and a pebble on the path of justice for our children.  I have often told you that this blog is not about Lucifer (that is one of the main reasons that I don’t use his true name).  Today, however, I want to share a letter with all of my readers that I have written to Luc (but will never send).  I imagine this letter could be used over and over again for many woman (and some men too) who have escaped (or hope to escape) a psychopath.  I encourage everyone to share their “goodbye letters” in the comments of this post.  Say goodbye and good riddance to the psychopath in your life and pledge to have “no contact” with this person in both the physical and in thought.  This is the first time I will address Luc – and it will also be the last.

 

Dear Lucifer,

I regret a lot of things in life, but I will never regret leaving you.  While we were together, I wrote love letter after love letter – hoping and praying that you would one day prove to me that you were the man I wanted you to be.  You never proved anything, because being that man was impossible.  You have taken a lot from me, but you have not ruined me.  I was strong before I met you, but now you have assisted me in becoming wiser and stronger than I ever believed I could be.  Prince was an angel.  I have always known that he saved my life, but now I realize that he likely saved many others.  Sometimes I think Shawn sent him here to protect her son from you.  Maybe your mother Alma sent him so that you would stop killing, conning, leaching, and abusing.   Prince’s true mission was one that I will never completely know until I am in heaven along with him.

Today is the beginning of the rest of my life.  After this moment, I will begin to forget about you.  I will move on, fall in love again, have more children, and one day remember Prince without remembering his unfortunate sperm donor.   I am fairly certain that you will remember me forever.  You are likely thinking that your current situation is my fault.  Don’t be confused Luc, this is part of your disorder.  You always said that you wondered if you were being punished for the bad things you had done in a past life (because you didn’t have money, were not a successful singer, or whatever thing you chose to complain about that day).  I am here to tell you the honest to God truth – you are being punished for the terrible things you are doing in this life.  Everything that is happening to you right now is of your own doing.  That very large and angry man who wants to make you his girlfriend (or maybe already has) is sharing that jail cell with you because of what you have done to the people who tried to love you.

You have destroyed everything that could have been good in your life.  Now, you have nothing.  You have become what you have feared the most – powerless and utterly irrelevant.  In jail you will probably still tell stories about how you believe you were in concert with Brittany Spears, Rihanna, or whatever other artist you will claim to personally know at the time.  The difference, however, is that now everyone knows how delusional you are so these stories will be nothing more than the stories of a crazy man who sits in prison for the rest of his miserable life.

Enjoy the media attention and the televised trial because it will be the last stage you will perform on.  Eventually, you will disappear along with the average news cycle, and nobody will think about you as you rot in jail where you belong.  And remember – you are sitting there because of the things you have done.  You took Prince’s life after only 15 months.  My little boy touched more people in a positive way than you will have in your lifetime.  In fact, I would challenge you to find just one person who will admit (after they learn who you really are) that you have touched their life in a positive way.

Good riddance Lucifer.  You are finally where you were meant to be – in chains, powerless, and forever in jail.

Truthfully and finally,

Prince’s Mama

 

 

 

Fearing the non-traditional family

There are certain memories of my time with Luc that are burned in my mind.  One of the most vivid memories happened in early 2011 when I was only a few months pregnant.  Luc went into another one of his rages when I admitted that I couldn’t afford to pay his entire mortgage.  I had just finished telling him how I was starting to feel as if I was being used (since he was not working and it seemed as if he expected me to bring in all the money in the household).  His eyes burning with rage, he said, “I will never forgive you for saying that!”  It was the first time that I looked at him and felt as if I didn’t recognize him.  I was terrified.  That night, I packed up my things and left.  I drove away from the house as far as I could and stopped at a hotel.  I didn’t want to go back, but I was afraid to leave.

At the time, I was unsure why I felt so compelled to protect this man who I had come to see was abusive and whom I had started to worry was not being honest (particularly about his career).  Looking back on it, however, it is more clear to me that I was afraid of the non-traditional family.  I had grown up with a mother and a father who had been married for longer than I was alive and who would stay married until the day they died.  I was taught that through even the worst – you keep your family together.  I was afraid to admit the reality – this man was not capable of being the family man I had dreamed of and we would never be a family.  So I hung on, because that was easier than admitting that my dream hadn’t worked out.

So many women (and men too) find themselves in relationships that aren’t working.  For children, and societal expectations, we stay longer than we should.  We stay for fear of being one of the “other” types of families or for having to one day answer the question, “where is my daddy?”.

For months after I left, we didn’t hear from Luc.  He never asked how Prince was doing and never asked to see him.  Even through my relief that we had escaped this abusive situation (and it appeared as though he was going to leave us alone), I found myself looking at children (particularly boys) with their fathers.  While my son had several strong men in his life (his uncle, grandfather, great uncles, and cousins), I still went through a period of mourning for a man who never existed – the man I believed had been my son’s father.  The man I believed Luc was (before I learned the truth), would never have disappeared for months instead of asking to see his child.

 

A Village

Before Luc came into my life, I never would have jumped to the front of the line (waving my hands around like an eager elementary school girl) to sign up for single motherhood.  I was thrown into single motherhood when I chose to run from a dangerous situation.  Though this seemed like a scary decision to make at the time, I came to learn that it doesn’t just take a mother and a father to have a strong family – it takes a village of strong people.

The “it takes a village” phase seems played out; however, I learned of its truth during my time as Prince’s mother.  As I looked around, I realized that Prince had so many people who loved him.  He was happy and he knew where his home was – with his people.  When Prince hit major milestones, like crawling and walking, I wasn’t alone – I shared the moment with my parents and with all of Prince’s extended family over the iPhone (even Luc’s brother, aunts, and cousins).  Despite all of the love in my son’s life, society (in the form of family court) didn’t believe that my son’s life was complete.  Judge Algeo believed my son needed to have access to his father Luc, despite his vocal concerns about Luc’s mental health.

Even though I knew our lives would never be easy (because of Luc and the court’s unwillingness to protect us from him), I tried as hard as I could to give my son everything I could.  I was preparing myself every day to answer the hard questions like, “Why aren’t you with my father?  Why are you scared of him?  How come I have to be dropped off for a visit with him at a police station?”  Unfortunately, my son will never learn to speak.  He never even said “Dada” so I never got the chance to explain to him why it was that I left that man.

The Non-Traditional Family

Since my son came into my life, I have looked closely at many families.  I have realized that children need healthy people and that successful families come in all sizes, ages, races, socio-economic status, and gender.  I would like to share a few examples of excellent “non-traditional” families.  I hope that through these types of examples, women and men will realize that they need not be afraid of describing what is different to their children.  They need to show their children the healthiest environment they can even when that is despite the child’s other biological parent.  To these people I describe below – thank you for teaching me this important lesson.

1)  My friend Jo is a lesbian woman.  She married her wife Melissa years ago.  Jo and Melissa just had their first child, Harper, last year.  Before Jo and Melissa, I didn’t know any other lesbian couple with a child.  Ignorantly, I often wondered if a child of a lesbian couple would be disadvantaged without the presence of a father.  Over the past few months, however, I have watched Harper grow up in what appears to be one of the most loving homes I have ever seen.  The way these two women talk about their daughter is heart warming.  I have no doubt in my mind that this child will grow up to be a strong, caring, intelligent, educated, and loving woman just like her mothers.

2)  My uncle Greg was a single father when he met my aunt.  Even though me and his son Dan are not biological cousins, I consider Dan just as “cousin” as the rest of my cousins.  My uncle Greg made personal sacrifices in his life for his son, but he also understood the importance of surrounding his son with a lot of healthy people.  As a child, I distinctly remember seeing the strong bond between Greg and Dan.  Though many would not see blended families as ideal, this is a pretty darn good family.  Dan’s biological father and mother were not together, but Dan has a very strong family.

3)  In the past couple of years, I have met several single mothers.  Two of my friends are single mothers -one by choice and one by circumstance.  These two women are raising their daughters with love and exposing them to healthy people.  While its possible that these two girls will wonder about their biological fathers (for two very different reasons), I have no doubt in my mind that they will grow up to be amazing women just like their mothers.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with the traditional male-female relationship parenting experience. (Note:  I know a lot of great traditional families)  What I am saying, however, is that this is not always the best situation for everyone.  There are a lot of people who stay in bad relationships (or never have children at all) because they fear the non-traditional experience.  Our society is evolving and with that should come the understanding that 1) not all people should be parents 2) children need healthy people. 

I learned a lot of hard lessons in the past three years.  While I am no longer a single mother with a child, I will always be Prince’s mother.  I am no longer afraid of being a single mother.  I wish I could have given Prince the world.  I wish that I could have given him the wonderful non-traditional life I had re-planned for him.  I will never have that chance, but the next time I see a non-traditional family (either by choice or by circumstance) I will give them the respect they deserve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Abuse – Stupidity does not unite us

A few days ago I wrote about something I like to call Non-Traditional Domestic Violence.  Since I wrote that post, I have received several emails from women who have lived through all kinds of horrifying abuse at the hands of likely sociopathic men.  I wanted to share some of the experiences of these strong women with my readers.  When I was living through the abuse, I felt very alone.  Even though I had friends and family living near me, I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was going through.  I was not even sure how I would begin to explain why I spent so much time crying.

One of the things people wonder about me is why I write.  Let me clear this up for the record.  I do not write out of vengeance.  While I know that Luc (and likely his old man housemate too) are reading every single word I write, this blog is not for them.  It is also not to try to change the minds of those who don’t believe psychopathy exists.  I write for the mothers (and fathers) who will one day be in family court trying to protect their children, for the man or woman who falls in love with someone who doesn’t exist (a con), for the judges who care about saving kids, for the lawyers who will represent a victim of domestic abuse, for the men and women living through abusive relationships, and most of all – for my son.  I want people to know what happened.  I promised him that I would see to it that his life will is not forgotten and that I will fight for justice.

It’s unfortunate that my son’s story began with his mother’s horribly abusive relationship.  Though its not pretty, it’s important to tell this part of the story.  For all the women who have had the strength to write down their story – me and my baby send you hugs.  Here are a few that I have heard:

1) ” …I found out I was having twins.  My pregnancy was lonely.  He wouldn’t touch me, he wouldn’t speak to me.  He treated me like a test tube only making sure that I had enough nutrition to keep the babies healthy.  I developed pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and was put on bed rest.  While in the bathroom, I collapsed from a pain in my back.  My mother and I tried calling “J” (the sociopath) all night and into the morning.  He did not answer.  I was in the hospital for five days and my boys were in the NICU for 3 weeks.  I was there with them every single day and most nights too.  “J” was not there.”

2) ” …he would tell me that he was going to China to buy a woman whom he would bring back home to raise his sons.  He said a stranger could do a better job that I could.  He called me a “negligent cunt” when he discovered a diaper rash on the baby and he threw dirty diapers at me.  He asked me to leave the house so he could have a prostitute come over.  He would lock the car seats in his car and sleep on the keys so I couldn’t escape with the babies.”

3)  “He stopped letting me sleep at nights.  He would stay up late playing video games and would come into the bedroom periodically doing something idiotic like yelling at me just to wake me up….or he would shove me out of bed and I would end up down on the couch.”

(Note:  At the risk of being a little controversial here, if your boyfriend/husband plays violent video games ALL day and ALL night….to the degree that it impairs his ability to get a job or socialize with others…this is a HUGE red flag.  Luc did this – I should have left when I realized this was a problem.)

4)  “After a year of abuse…I started planning.  I met with a lawyer and I started telling my friends about the abuse (I had previously kept it a secret).  One night, when I knew he would be away – I left.  I had 13 friends and family show up with a moving van.  An aunt took the children and the rest of us packed anything we could for as long as my nerves would hold me at that house.  Then – I left.”

5)  “After he pushed me into a wall, punched me in the stomach (post pregnancy while holding my 3 month old son), and tried to kick in my front door, I gave up and tried to get him to stay away from me and my son.  I finally realized that this was not the kind of man my son needed in his life.  He fought me for custody.  At first it was supervised, but now its unsupervised.  I refused – now we are going back to court because I violated the court order.”

6)  “My ex husband poured scalding water on my face because he was upset with his finances and because I wouldn’t allow him to leave the country with our son.”

7)  “For nine hours, he held me hostage in his apartment, violently assaulted me, suffocated me with a body pillow…he didn’t allow me to use the bathroom.  When I finally told him that I would pee on his floor, he allowed me to go to the bathroom.  While I was using the bathroom, he took pictures of me.  He then told me he would use these pictures to embarrass me.  He did – he sent them to my father’s work e-mail address.”

8)  “I’ve seen the scariest man I have ever met walk into a court room with his head bowed, hands clasped, voice low and one tear on his cheek.  This has only made him more frightening.  I know…how it feels to lose a child.  To lose a child due to another’s complete lack of empathy and, in fact, humanity.”

9)  “…now he has started to emotionally abuse our son.  Every time my five year old son has to go to a court ordered visit, he says ‘please Mommy I will listen, now can I stay at your house?  Please, I don’t want to go to any sleeps at Dad’s.”

10)  “When I finally got the courage to leave him, he held me at gun point.  He told me that I would leave one of two ways – by jumping out of the window or in a body bag after he shot me.”

 

These stories are horrifying, but sadly they are not as uncommon as we would all like to believe.  I have heard the statistic that only four percent of the male population is considered a psychopath.  I wonder, however, how many more have gone undiagnosed and how many people are “on the spectrum” and, while not killers, are still abusive and dangerous.

The women who have shared their stories with me are all pretty, smart, and educated.  They are someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, friend…

Abuse can happen to anyone.  Stupidity is not at all a unifying characteristic for women who have been in abusive relationships.

 

The woman my son can be proud of

Tonight I sat and stared at the Christmas tree my parents put up this year.  My eyes quickly focused in on a small ornament I had bought a little over a year ago today.  I remember like it were yesterday when I had brought Prince into this small mom and pop Christmas store in search of his first Christmas ornament for his very first Christmas (which unknown to me at the time also happened to be his last).  The ornament was of a baby in a pea pod shaped frog outfit.  The baby was wearing a crown and a cape and it had a simple inscription:  “Little Prince”

The baby seemed to stare out at me from amongst the other ornaments on the tree.  As I stared back at it, I couldn’t help but to cry.  Despite how strong people have said I am throughout this ordeal, I didn’t feel strong in that moment.  The helpless emotions I have been feeling throughout this holiday season came rushing out as I stared at a small token that represented my little Prince.  I stared at the tree and remembered how instead of my son sleeping peacefully in his crib, his body lay cold in the ground.

This coming week will mark eleven weeks since my son died.  This time of year is a time when people tend to reflect on the year and think about how they will “change” or “reform” or “resolve” for the new year.  I have spent a considerable amount of  time thinking about my son and how much time I spent trying to protect him.  I have put a lot of thought into how I will transfer that energy into getting Justice for my son and holding the “periphery criminals” (those who stood, and continue to stand, one the outside periphery of Luc and both condone and enable his criminal behavior) accountable as well.

Beyond this, however, I am also focused on how I can be the type of person my son will be proud of.  This might sound strange to those who don’t believe in an afterlife, but bear with me on this one.  Every day I wake up, I balance my firey burning rage against the system that failed my son and the demon Luc himself.  There are moments, however, when I imagine my little boy watching me from heaven.  I don’t want him to see me angry all the time and full of hate.  I want him to see me as I would have wanted him to see me had he lived.

 

So in the new year, I am not making a New Years resolution that will fade in a few months as life gets busy.  I am starting the new year deep in thought about how I can be the woman my son will always be proud of.  This is not something that can be accomplished overnight because I have some work to do.  I need to be able to wake up without wanting to punch a hole in the wall in anger about what has happened – I need to be able to focus my anger into justice achieving activities – I need to be able to move forward with grace in the face of the most horrendously bad lifetime movie-esque story.