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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

[FL] Orange County Deputy Terry and his children found dead

Orange Circuit Judge Bob Wattles said he awarded temporary custody of the children last month to Paul Terry, 45, after he filed a domestic-violence complaint against his wife. Wattles called the marital dispute "a he-said, she-said thing" but decided in favor of the father...

Orange deputy, 2 kids found slain
He was to appear at hearing with estranged wife

Sun Sentinel
Anthony Colarossi acolarossi@orlandosentinel.com,
Pedro Ruz Gutierrez and Daphne Sashin
October 11 2005
[Excerpts] An Orange County deputy sheriff and his two young children were found dead in their Windermere-area home Monday, only hours after they failed to appear at a court hearing with the deputy's estranged wife. Neighbors and a Circuit Court judge handling the case identified the deputy as Paul Robert Terry, a 14-year Sheriff's Office veteran. The children -- 10-year-old Elyse and 8-year-old Ian -- were living with Terry, who recently separated from his wife Authorities released few details about the deaths and would not confirm the names of the victims. It was unclear late Monday whether it was a triple murder or a murder-suicide. "Needless to say it was a very tragic scene," said Sgt. Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "Everybody is trying to find a reason why this happened." The gruesome scene was discovered after deputies went to the house on Butler Bay Court to check on the family about 4:30 p.m. When she was told of the deaths, the children's mother, Leigh Ann Terry, broke down in a neighbor's driveway. "She was hysterical"... Orange Circuit Judge Bob Wattles said he awarded temporary custody of the children last month to Paul Terry, 45, after he filed a domestic-violence complaint against his wife. Wattles called the marital dispute "a he-said, she-said thing" but decided in favor of the father... "He alleged that she hit him, and he was afraid for himself and his children," Wattles said Monday night. "I believe, in this case, I granted the initial injunction to him." Wattles said the mother had disputed Paul Terry's claims, but he gave the deputy temporary custody of the children and allowed them to remain in the family's home... "You always try to avoid this. It's just a really tough situation," said Wattles, who plans to attend the funerals and said he expects to cry with Leigh Ann Terry. "Nobody saw this coming," he said. "You never want to have this happen." A neighbor on Butler Bay Court described Paul Terry as a "control freak" who was obsessed with his children and acted like a cop even when he was off duty, around neighbors. "We don't talk to them because he was so screwy," said Carolyn Nichols, who lives next door to the Terrys' home. "This person was really not together. He frightened me." Nichols said Leigh Ann Terry had approached neighbors for shelter because she was afraid of her husband and his access to firearms. "She asked neighbors if she could stay with them," she said. "She was concerned he had a gun"... [Full article here]

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