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Domestic Violence

Women, Custody Disputes, and Spousal Murder

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Women, Custody Disputes, and Spousal Murder


August 21, 2023

Recently, the ex-wife of murdered Microsoft executive Jaren Bridegan was charged with first-degree murder in connection with his murder.  Bridegan, who was in the midst of a custody dispute with his ex-wife, was ambushed on the street after dropping-off the couple’s children at his ex-wife’s house.  The mother’s new husband has also been charged in the murder.

Ex-wife of slain Microsoft exec Jared Bridegan charged with his murder

Bridegan was shot and killed in the middle of a Jacksonville Beach street.

Aug 17, 2023

A few weeks earlier, a New York woman and her new husband were charged with killing her ex-husband, with whom she shared two children.  He went missing after dropping-off the couple’s children at the ex-wife’s house.

Accused in Missing Man’s Grisly Killing: His Ex-Wife and Her Husband

Three years ago, Steven Kraft disappeared. This week, Jamie and Nicholas Orsini were arrested and accused of carrying out an elaborate plot to kill him and dispose of his body.

June 16, 2023

These stories are reminiscent of the infamous murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel, who was murdered while sitting in a car in his garage.  Markel was in the midst of a custody dispute with his ex-wife, who was also a law professor.  The ex-wife’s brother, a prominent dentist, has been charged with first degree murder for arranging the contract killing.  The trigger-men have already been convicted.  Many people believe other members of the wife’s family, including the wife herself, were involved.

Charlie Adelson’s trial over Dan Markel’s killing will now start in October

March 19, 2023

These cases are also reminiscent of an earlier Illinois case in which a father, Steve Watkins, was murdered by his former mother-in-law.  Watkins was gunned down from behind when he went to the home of his estranged wife to pick up their child while their divorce case was pending. Watkins died from a single gunshot to the back of his head.

She fought the law and the law won

“During the 2010 trial, prosecutor Michael Vujovich called the murder a “family affair,” committed because Jennifer Watkins and her kin considered [the child] their property, and they feared that Steven Watkins might gain custody, or at least substantial visitation rights, during divorce proceedings.”

Other cases:

Dad wins custody of kids, then ex’s boyfriend kills him moments after, VA family says

May 12, 2023

Father of Children Killed in Reseda Was in Custody Fight With Mother Now Suspected of Murder

Apr. 12, 2021

Cruel twist in Queens custody fight: Mother accused of killing her baby’s father shares joint custody with his heartbroken mom

Nov. 20, 2020

Here’s a twist on the theme.  A mother murdered her child’s paternal grandmother.

Texas Grandmother Killed Outside Starbucks, Allegedly by Child’s Mother in Dispute Over Custody

Police said Watts allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired shots at Edwards, killing her in front of the child

Apr. 20, 2022

The common theme that runs throughout these cases is a mother who views the children as her property and is unwilling to share custody with their father.  Of interest, none of the fathers in these cases was seeking (or had) more than 50% parenting time.