Fatal Obsession — the real thing

I’ve been fascinated — and horrified — by accounts of this tragic case, in which an elderly Florida man became obsessed with a brilliant Montana teenager. Their only connection: a shared Greek heritage. The man became convinced that the girl’s mother was holding her back and keeping her from developing her talents — to the point that in January 2011, he came to Montana and confronted the girl. She obtained a restraining order. Five days later, he went to the family’s home and shot the mother, severely injuring her. The girl called 911, and with sheriff’s deputies on the phone, stopped the shooting by shielding her mother. Park County Sheriff’s deputies arrived. The man pointed his gun at them and they shot, killing him.

Mother and daughter sued his estate in Montana federal court for monetary damages for their physical and emotional injuries, and for punitive damages.  Defense attorneys admitted the shooting and liability, but claimed he was insane at the time. A Florida judge recently approved a settlement with the man’s estate. This recap comes from the Billings Gazette and Associated Press; see the list of related stories at the bottom for more.

Once again, I wish I was making this up.

7 thoughts on “Fatal Obsession — the real thing

  1. These kind of stories make me want to dig deeper. What in the man’s past led him to that point? Had he and the girl ever met in person? Had the girl ever complained to the man about her mother? Did the man have other family?

    A springboard to a great piece of crime fiction, Leslie.

    • Peg, they had not met until shortly before the shooting. The old man heard about the girl through the Greek community’s grapevine — the girl was Greek through her father (not in the picture — I don’t know if he’s living), but not her mother. Both mother and daughter were well aware of the old man and his increasing demands. He did have family in Florida. Obviously, his mental condition is suspect, but details are scarce.

      Glad it gives you some ideas!

  2. How did he get her exact contact info? Who supplied him with that? Some kind of Info Railroad that hooks up old men with young, unsuspecting, fatherless girls?

Leave a Reply to Peg Brantley Cancel reply