Archivi tag: Skyway Bridge

IL PONTE DEI SUICIDI (Non è Thelma e Louise)

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The color of sunshine

Non è Thelma e Louise

 
Lo Skyway Bridge. 
Tampa, Florida.
Il mare è di un blu da cartolina. Come se milioni di nani schiavi della bellezza lo dipingessero ogni istante per renderlo più bello di quello di Toronto o di Adelaide, più patinato, più americano. In fondo è solo un ponte. Anzi no: è la via del cielo. La strada che porta altrove, dove il blu non ha bisogno di essere dipinto e lucidato ogni giorno con il sudore della fronte e delle braccia.
Lì vicino abita la mia bellezza americana.
Lei adora l’Italia, e io adoro lei.
Dice che ha radici siciliane. Ma è come la Statua della Libertà: viene dall’Europa ma nessuno lo ricorda. Ride, con quei denti eternamente giovani e quella mente lontana dai miliardari egocentrici con gatti gialli al posto dei capelli. Ride e corre, ogni giorno, tra i suoi gatti neri e sani e i suoi prati lisci, senza recinzioni. Oggi è corsa all’aeroporto, a prendere me, il bradipo italiano portato da lei, dal suo pensiero in carne ed ossa, in questo enorme parco giochi dove ogni passo è stupore. Dove perfino il mattino è più grande, assetato, e la sera è un prato liscio di paura.
Parla e ride, con quella voce che ondeggia come una canzone sulla pelle ed entra nelle vene. Ride, e prima che riesca ad abbracciarla, mi ha già raccontato la sua vita, i cugini, i parenti, il lavoro, i bicchieri di bevande sempre più colorate e alcoliche, gli amici, le palestre, i massaggi, i passaggi di una vita tra afa e vento, riso e pianto, costanza e sogno.
Salgo sulla sua macchina gigantesca. Mi dice che lì, da loro, è un’utilitaria, quella che da noi è una Panda, di quelle vecchie e squadrate, non ancora del tutto estinte. È stata in Italia, con un suo amore ora lontano. Ha visto San Pietro e San Siro, il sole e il gelo. Ha portato valige e ricordi pesanti, rimpianti di ghisa e serate di piombo. Ma non ha smesso di amare questo folle e strano paese che è il nostro. Ma è adesso è qui, nel suo mondo. Gioca in casa, è favorita. È il capitano della squadra di soccer, come dicono loro, dei miei sogni d’oltreoceano.
Guida, senza quasi mai guardare la strada, lungo strade larghe e diritte. Io guardo con un occhio davanti e con uno lei, e mai strabismo fu più pieno di paura e eccitazione. Mi porta, per prima cosa, a vedere il loro più bel monumento: l’Oceano. Un enorme installazione su cui nessun uomo ha messo mano.
Attraversiamo lo Skyway Bridge. Ed è come volare. Rapidi e instabili, lontano dal suolo. Vicini alle parole della storia di cui, con un riso più intenso, mi fa dono.
Mi racconta di Kathy Freeman. Il nome è simile a quello dell’ex atleta australiana specializzata nella velocità. Ma la nostra Kathy è un’altra. Lei camminava lenta. Solo nel finale ha accelerato.
La nostra Kathy Freeman una mattina, quella mattina, ha preparato dei biscotti fatti in casa, ha fatto il bagnetto alla bambina di una sua amica, ha amabilmente chiacchierato con i vicini nel primo pomeriggio, poi, qualche ora dopo, ha sparato una decina di colpi di pistola al suo ex marito, un avvocato di successo.
Subito dopo ha tentato di strangolare la compagna del suo ex marito, poi, all’alba del giorno dopo, è salita sulla sua Cadillac del 99 e si è diretta al Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Sì, il Ponte del Sole. Proprio questo, infinito, ineluttabile, che stiamo percorrendo. Sì è gettata nel vuoto dalla campata centrale.
È sopravvissuta. Kathy ha voluto fare un’opera completa: ha violato anche le leggi della fisica.
Secondo gli esperto della polizia i forti venti della baia hanno rallentato il salto nel vuoto dei suoi 63 chili e mezzo.
Era ancora cosciente quando, dopo essere stata in balia dell’Oceano per 40 minuti, è stata ripescata come un relitto dai vigili del fuoco di St. Petersburg. Un primo controllo delle sue condizioni fisiche ha rivelato la frattura delle gambe e della zona pelvica. È stata portata al Centro Medico di Bayfront e sottoposta ad un intervento chirurgico. Le sue condizioni erano critiche per le ferite interne.
Il pomeriggio seguente, meno di ventiquattr’ore dopo, lo sceriffo di Hillsborough ha accusato la casalinga, ex broker finanziario, di omicidio di primo grado, furto a mano armata e aggressione aggravata.
Gli eventi hanno sconvolto i suoi amici e i vicini. Secondo la testimonianza di una sua cara amica, Michelle, Katherine Freeman era una persona gioviale che si prendeva cura amorevolmente di sua figlia ed aveva mantenuto un rapporto amichevole con il suo ex marito nonostante il loro divorzio nel 1996 dopo dieci anni di matrimonio. Lei e suo marito erano due migliori amici che si erano sposati. Michelle ricorda che a volte Kathy diceva che suo marito le mancava. E aggiungeva, riferendosi a lui, “adesso mi accorgo di quanto mi piacesse come persona”.
Katherine era entrata a casa di suo marito alle undici e mezza di sera, e gli aveva sparato numerosi colpi.
Poi dopo aver lottato con la sua attuale moglie, era fuggita.
Non era tornata a casa dalla figlia, che adorava e nei cui confronti era estremamente protettiva. Secondi alcuni era stato proprio un litigio tra la figlia e la moglie del suo ex marito a far scattare la furia di Kathy.
L’accaduto ha sorpreso tutti coloro che sapevano bene quanto Kathy e il suo ex sposo fossero un esempio da additare a tutti di separazione amichevole.
          Dagli atti del divorzio si è ricavato che dopo la separazione al marito è stata assegnata la casa, del valore di 650.000 dollari, vari appartamenti, macchine sportive, e numeri conti bancari e azioni. A Kathy erano toccati 110.00 dollari in contanti e 96.000 dollari di alimenti, più metà del mobilio e delle fotografie. Grover Freeman, avvocato di successo, si era risposato sei mesi dopo con Constance (Costante) Elaine King. Era il dì 12 Ottobre. La scoperta dell’America.
Noi italiani c’entriamo sempre. Non ne possiamo fare a meno.
Comunque, ciò che conta è che gli amici della ex coppia affermavano in coro che se Kathy avesse in qualche modo sofferto della separazione, e della spartizione, non dava modo di farlo notare. In fondo era solo una delle tante sfide che ha aveva dovuto affrontare, e superare, nella vita.
Nel 1983 il fidanzato di Kathy era stato ucciso a colpi di pistola. Un anno dopo era stata presa in ostaggio e malmenata durante una rapina nella sua gioielleria di E Busch Boulevard a Tampa. Nell’86 Kathy era stata aggredita da uno sconosciuto che era entrato un casa sua mentre suo marito era fuori città. Nonostante tutto questo, dicono ancora gli amici, Kathy non era aggressiva né piena di risentimento.
“La vita va avanti”.
Era questa la sua filosofia.
Recentemente, continua la sua amica Michelle, era molto piena di ottimismo, ed aveva pianificato di portare sua figlia alle Hawaii.
Quando parlava del suo ex marito, sostiene Janine Rosen, lo faceva con rispetto. Anzi, con ammirazione, per i successi che era riuscito ad ottenere grazie al suo lavoro. Ma forse, sostiene Janine, Kathy nascondeva dietro i suoi scherzi, le battute che diffondeva alle amiche via mail e le festicciole che organizzava per i ragazzi del quartiere il suo dolore.
Il Ponte è quasi finito.
Di sicuro è finita la storia di Kathy che la mia amata amica americana (splendida allitterazione) mi ha raccontato nei dettagli.
Aggiunge alcune immagini. Lo fa sempre. Lo fa come solo lei sa fare: con dolce cattiveria, come l’Oceano sotto di noi, che ci culla e ci vorrebbe ingoiare.
Mi fa riflettere sul processo per direttissima. Qui li fanno presto sul serio, forse perfino troppo. A volte meglio di un diretto sarebbe un accelerato. Mi dice di provare a visualizzare Kathy completamente ingessata e immobilizzata che presenzia come una statua tragica e ridicola al processo in cui si fa pezzi e si rimonta la sua vita.
Mi informa che lo Skyway Bridge è il ponte dei suicidi.
Ogni giorno c’è la fila di aspiranti uccelli senza ali.
Aggiunge che in alcuni giorni, soprattutto la notte di Natale, ci sono ronde di volontari antisuicidi che presidiano il ponte per provare a dissuadere i depressi dal compiere il gesto estremo.
Mi dice che anche lei, spesso, ha pensato allo Skyway Bridge.
Con amore.
Io ora, non la sopporto, non la riesco neppure a guardare.
Ho un crampo allo stomaco.
Vorrei tornare in Italia.
Passando però per vie aeree ed acquatiche.
Vorrei buttarmi in quel mare più grande del mare.
Poi la mia amica-amore apre di nuovo la bocca.
Mi invita a pensare come dovevano essere belli i capelli rossi di Kathy nel vento del suo volo.
Prima dell’impatto.
Quando lei era ancora aria e libertà.
Io, ora, la voglio baciare.
Non vedo l’ora che il Ponte sia alle spalle.  Non vedo l’ora di arrivare alla casa di Alice con il suo patio, la sua piscina, il suo letto rosso sempre pieno di gatti, libri e telefoni. Sempre caldo, sempre ora di rifare.
Io, ora, la voglio abbracciare.
Skyway Bridge mi perdonerà.
Magari al ritorno ci faccio un pensierino, al salto.
Ora no.
Devo pensare cosa dire per convincerla a indossare per me quel suo bikini giallo. The color of sunshine, anche lui. Come il ponte.

 *******

Risultati immagini per sunshine skyway bridge katherine freeman

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted the ex-wife of a prominent attorney who was shot to death in his home.
Katherine King Freeman, 41, was indicted Wednesday on one count each of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and armed burglary. She is accused of forcing her way into her ex-husband’s home May 15 and fatally shooting him.Grover Cleveland Freeman, 54, managed to call 911 but died later that evening. His wife, Connie, 50, suffered minor injuries after she was beaten with a gun during the attack and almost thrown off a second-floor balcony.
Six hours after the slaying, Katherine Freeman survived a 175-foot jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. She underwent surgery after being pulled from Tampa Bay and remains in sheriff’s custody at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

TAMPA – A prominent attorney was shot to death in his home and his ex-wife survived a 175-foot jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Tuesday as detectives searched for her as a suspect.

Grover Cleveland Freeman, 54, called 911 but died at about 11:30 p.m. Monday from a gunshot to the upper body, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Freeman’s wife, Connie, 50, had minor injuries after she was beaten with a gun and slightly strangled.

His ex-wife, Katherine King Freeman, 41, had surgery at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg after a fire department rescue crew pulled her from Tampa Bay. She was in critical condition.

Katherine Freeman is being charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and armed burglary of a dwelling, sheriff’s spokesman Rod Reder said.

Katherine and Grover Freeman have a daughter, Westin, 13, who was being cared for by family. They divorced in 1996 and friends said it was an amicable split, Reder said.

There were no prior domestic violence calls at either of the Freemans’ homes, Reder said. Katherine Freeman lived about a mile from her ex-husband, who had bought the home so he could be close to Westin, friends said.

Grover Freeman’s law partner Howard Hunter said he spoke with Connie Freeman on Tuesday, and she told him there was no trouble with Katherine Freeman.

The killing shocked Tampa’s legal and medical communities, where Grover Freeman had a reputation for defending doctors being disciplined by medical regulators.

Sheriff’s officials said the incident began Monday evening when Katherine Freeman forced her way into her ex-husband’s lakefront home and shot him. Reder said Connie Freeman confronted her.

The two woman struggled. Connie Freeman broke free and fled to a neighbor’s house to call for help.

Detectives searched for Katherine Freeman throughout the night. Shortly after 6 a.m., they received a telephone call that a woman was in the water below the bridge.

 

Risultati immagini per volo uccello

The color of sunshine

(This is not Thelma and Louise)

 
Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Tampa, Florida.
The sea is a blue postcard. As if millions of dwarf slaves of the goddess of beauty painted every drop to make it more beautiful than that of Osaka or Adelaide, much sleeker, more American. It is only a bridge. Nay, it is the way to heaven. The road leading somewhere else, where the blue does not need to be painted and polished every day by the sweat of brow and arms.
Nearby lives Liza, my American beauty.
She loves Italy, and I love her love.
She says that she has Sicilian roots. But she’s like the Statue of Liberty – she comes from Europe but no one remembers that. She laughs, with those teeth eternally young and her brilliant mind far away from self-centered billionaires with hair resembling the fur of unkempt cats. She laughs and runs each day among her true cats, black and healthy, and her smooth lawns, no fences.
Today she has run to the airport, to take me, the sloth Italian drawn by her, by the thought of her flesh and mind, in this huge playground where every step brings you toward astonishment and fear. Where even the morning is bigger, thirstier, and the evening is a smooth lawn to walk and dream on.
She keeps talking and laughing, with that voice that sways like a song on the skin and sinks into the veins. She laughs, and before I can embrace her, she has already told me about her life, her brother, her cousins, relatives, work, the glasses of more and more colorful and alcoholic drinks, friends, gyms, massages, the steps of a lifetime between heat and wind, laughing and crying, perseverance and dreams.
I step into her giant car. She tells me that there, by them, that is a small car, similar to our Panda, the old model, square, still not completely extinguished. She has been in Italy, with her love, far away now. She saw St. Peter and St. Siro, the sun and the frost. She brought with her huge suitcases and heavy memories, regrets of cast iron and lead evenings. She has not stopped loving this crazy and strange country that is ours. But she is here now, in her own world. Playing at home, she is favored. She is the captain of the soccer team, as they say, of my overseas dreams.
She drives without hardly an eye to the road ahead, along wide and straight roads. I look at the road with one eye and at her with the other, and squinting has never been more full of fear and excitement. She brings me, first, to see their most beautiful monument: the Ocean. A huge installation on which no man has put a hand.
We cross the Skyway Bridge. And it’s like flying. Rapid and unstable, away from the ground. Close to the words of the story which, with a more intense laughter, she gives me as a gift.
She tells me of Kathy Freeman. The name is similar to that of the former Australian athlete specialized in speed. But our Kathy is another. She was used to walking slowly. Only in the final moment she accelerated.
Our Kathy Freeman one morning, that morning, prepared some homemade cookies, in her bathroom gently washed the child of a friend, chatted amiably with the neighbors in the early afternoon, then, a few hours later, shot a dozen bullets into her former husband, a successful lawyer.
Soon after she attempted to strangle the companion of her ex spouse, then, at the dawn of the next day, she got into her ’99 Cadillac and headed to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Yes, the Bridge of the Sun. The same endless, inescapable thing we are crossing now. She then threw herself into the air from the center span.
She survived. Against all logic, against all odds. Kathy wanted to do a complete job: she also violated the laws of physics.
According to police experts the strong winds of the bay slowed the velocity of her 138 pounds into the void. She was still conscious when, after being at the mercy of the ocean for forty minutes, she was fished out as a relic by the St. Petersburg fire brigade. A first check of her physical condition revealed a fracture of the legs and pelvis. She was taken to the Bayfront Medical Center and underwent surgery. Her condition was critical for internal injuries.
The following afternoon, less than twenty-four hours later, the Hillsborough sheriff accused the housewife and former stockbroker of first degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault.
The events have shocked her friends and neighbors. According to the testimony of her dear friend, Michelle, Katherine Freeman was a jovial person who cared lovingly for her daughter and had maintained a friendly relationship with her ex-husband despite their divorce in 1996 after ten years of marriage. She and her husband were two best friends who had gotten married. Michelle remembers that sometimes Kathy said that she missed her husband. And she added, referring to him, “Now I realize how much I liked him as a person.”
Katherine, Liza says again, had come to her husband’s house at eleven thirty in the evening, and had fired several shots at him. Then, after struggling with his current wife, she had fled. She had not returned home to her daughter whom she loved and protected with all her heart. Someone declared that an argument between her daughter and the wife of her ex-husband triggered Kathy’s fury.
The incident surprised those who knew that Kathy and her former husband were an example to point out to all of friendly separation.
The divorce decreed that, after they separated, to her husband had been awarded the marital house, valued at $ 650,000, several apartments, sports cars, and numerous bank accounts and stocks. Kathy had obtained 110.00 dollars in cash and $ 96,000 of alimony, plus half of the furniture and photographs. Grover Freeman, the famous lawyer, had married six months later with Constance (Constant) Elaine King. It happened on October 12. The same day America was discovered. We Italians always meddle. We cannot do without.
However, what matters is that the friends of the former couple claimed in unison that if Kathy had somehow suffered the separation and division, she didn’t show it. Basically it was just one of the many challenges she had faced, and overcome, in her life. In 1983 Kathy’s boyfriend had been shot to death. A year later she was taken hostage and beaten during a robbery in her jewelry shop on E. Busch Boulevard in Tampa. In 1986 Kathy had been assaulted by a stranger who had entered her home while her husband was out of town. Despite all this, her friends state, Kathy was not aggressive or resentful.
“Life goes on”, was her philosophy.
Recently, continued her friend Michelle, she was very full of optimism and had planned to take her daughter to Hawaii. When she spoke of her former husband, says Janine Rosen, she did it with respect. Indeed, with admiration for the successes he had managed through his work. But perhaps, says Janine, Kathy hid behind her jokes, spread via e-mail to friends and behind the parties that she organized for the neighborhood kids, her pain.
The Bridge is almost finished.
For sure the story of Kathy is over. The story that my beloved American baby (beautiful alliteration) told me in detail.
Liza adds some images. She always does. She does it as only she can do, with sweet malice, just like the ocean below us, that lulls us and would like to swallow our bodies.
Liza makes me reflect on the summary process. Here they do them quickly seriously, the trials. Sometimes better than a direct train would be an “accelerated”, or a regional, a train which stops at all the small stations. She tells me to try to imagine Kathy completely immobilized in plaster, present as a tragic and ridiculous statue to the trial where they tear to pieces and badly reassemble her life. Liza informs me that the Skyway Bridge is the suicide bridge. Every day there is a row of aspiring birds without wings.
She adds that some days, especially on Christmas Eve, there are volunteers who patrol the bridge to try to dissuade depressed men and women from taking the extreme action.
She tells me that she often thought about the Skyway Bridge. With love. I cannot stand her now, I cannot even watch her. I have a cramp in my stomach.
I would like to kill her. Without even preparing, the morning before, biscuits and baby baths.
I would like to return to Italy.
But through water routes.
I would like to throw myself into that sea larger than the world.
Then my lovely friend opens her mouth again.
She invites me to think how beautiful Kathy would be with her red hair blowing in the wind during her flight.
Before the impact.
When she was still air and freedom.
I, now, want to kiss her.
I look forward to the moment when the bridge is finally behind us. I cannot wait to get to Liza’s house, her patio, her swimming pool, her red bed always full of cats, books and phones. Always warm, always to be made.
I, now, I want to embrace her.
Skyway Bridge will forgive me.
Maybe on my way back I will think about it a little, about the jump.
Not now.
I have to think about what to say to convince Liza to wear that really small yellow bikini for me. The color of sunshine, yes! Like the bridge.

 

**************

 

CREDITS:

Ringrazio ACG per avermi raccontato la storia di Katherine e del suo libero e folle volo.

*

Thanks to ACG from Florida for telling me the story of Katherine and of her crazy free jump.

IM

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On May 15, 2000, the suspect, Ms Katherine Freeman entered the residence of the victims, shot Mr. Freeman, causing his death and then becoming involved in a physical altercation with Ms. Constance Freeman. She struck Constance Freeman in the head several times with the handgun and then fled the scene. Constance  Freeman fled the residence to a friend’s house. Mr. Freeman called 9-1-1 and died soon after. As the Homicide Unit was investigating this incident, Ms. Katherine Freeman drove her 1999 Cadillac to the center span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, exited the vehicle and jumped off of the bridge. Katherine Freeman was located in the water by St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and brought to land where she was airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center. As a result of the investigation, Sheriff’s detectives obtained a warrant for Katherine Freeman’s arrest, charging her with 1st degree murder, armed burglary (dwelling) and aggravated battery.
05.16.00, St. Petersburg Times, Tampa attorney slain; ex-wife jumps from Skyway and survives
Tampa lawyer Grover Cleveland Freeman Jr., 54, was shot to death about 11:40 p.m. Monday at his Carrollwood home by his ex-wife, who beat up his current wife, drove to the Sunshine Skyway and jumped off one of its lower spans, surviving the plunge, authorities say. 
Kathy Freeman broke both legs when she jumped from the bridge, Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies have reported. 
Freeman’s current wife, Connie, was treated and released from a local hospital. 
The shooting occurred at the home Mr. Freeman shared with his current wife at [address withheld]in Carrollwood. Mr. Freeman practiced law in the Tampa firm of Freeman, Hunter & Malloy. 

05.17.00, St. Petersburg Times, Top lawyer slain; ex-wife charged, Suspect survives leap off Skyway
Investigators say prominent lawyer Grover Cleveland Freeman Jr., 54, was shot to death Monday night by his ex-wife, Katherine, in his home in Tampa’s Carrollwood. Grover Cleveland Freeman lived there with his current wife, Constance. 
By AMY HERDY
TAMPA — Katherine Freeman delivered home-baked poundcakes, bathed a friend’s young daughter and chatted with neighbors Monday afternoon in her tony Carrollwood subdivision.
Hours later, investigators say, she shot to death her ex-husband, successful lawyer Grover Cleveland Freeman Jr., 54, before beating and attempting to strangle his wife in the couple’s two-story lakefront home in Carrollwood.
Katherine Freeman then drove her 1999 Cadillac to the Sunshine Skyway bridge early Tuesday morning and leaped from the center span.
Remarkably, she survived. Officials credited brisk winds with slowing the 140-pound woman’s descent. She is thought to be the fifth person to survive the 200-foot fall since the bridge opened in 1987.
Katherine Freeman was still conscious after drifting more than 40 minutes in the main shipping channel before being plucked from the water by officials with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, said spokesman David Nolsheim. An initial assessment of her condition showed possible broken legs and a broken pelvis, Nolsheim said.
She was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where she underwent surgery and was in critical condition with internal injuries.
Tuesday afternoon, Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies charged the 41-year-old homemaker and former stockbroker with first-degree murder, armed burglary and aggravated battery.
The chain of events stunned her upscale community and left the couple’s 13-year-old daughter in shock, friends said.
“We can’t fathom any of this happening,” said Michele Karpenko, a friend of Katherine Freeman’s who answered the door Tuesday morning at Freeman’s home at [address withheld], just blocks from her ex-husband’s house at [address withheld].
Like many neighbors, Karpenko described her friend as a vivacious, upbeat person who doted on her daughter and maintained a friendly relationship with her ex-husband despite their 1996 divorce after 10 years of marriage.
“They were best friends who got married,” she said. After the divorce, she said, Katherine Freeman would sometimes comment she missed her ex-spouse.
“She would say, “I realize how much I liked him as a person,”‘ Karpenko recalled.
Yet for some reason, investigators said, she armed herself with a handgun and entered her ex-husband’s home shortly after 11:30 p.m. Monday. She then confronted him, said sheriff’s spokesman Rod Reder, shooting him several times.
Upon hearing shots, Freeman’s wife, Constance Freeman, 50, approached the pair and was attacked by Katherine Freeman, who choked her, pistol-whipped her and broke one of her fingers, Reder said.
“Mrs. Freeman then ran to a friend’s house, and the suspect fled,” Reder said.
Grover Freeman called 911 but died at the scene.
It is not clear how Katherine Freeman spent the time after the shooting and before leaping off the Sunshine Skyway bridge Tuesday morning about 6.
However, she did not return to her home where her daughter was in the care of her mother, said Karpenko, who was watching after the teen Tuesday.
A neighbor and close friend of the couple, Laurie Winkles, said Katherine Freeman may have reacted to tensions between her daughter and Constance Freeman, who had been with the teen Monday when the girl placed a call to her mother.
“She was very protective” of her daughter, said Winkles, who described the woman as “passionate, and utterly devoted” to her child. “Something must have been said to really tick her off.”
The incident came as a surprise to others who said that Grover and Katherine Freeman were an ideal example of an amicable split.
Divorce records show that after the couple’s breakup, Grover Freeman kept the marital home, valued at $650,000, as well as several condominiums, sports cars and various bank and stock accounts.
Katherine Freeman received $110,000 in cash, $96,000 in alimony and $1,450 in monthly child support, plus half the furniture and photographs.
Six months later, court records show, Grover Freeman remarried on Oct. 12, 1996, to Constance Elaine King. If that situation was difficult for Katherine Freeman, friends say, she never showed it.
It was one of many challenges she had faced in life.
In March 1983, sheriff’s deputies said, someone shot to death her boyfriend, 30-year-old Ronald Heinlein, in his jewelry store on N Dale Mabry Highway.
“Kathy was dating Ronald, and he was a homicide victim,” said Reder, the sheriff’s spokesman, adding that the case remains open.
A year later, in February 1984, a robber took Katherine Freeman hostage after beating and robbing her in a jewelry store she owned on E Busch Boulevard in Tampa.
The suspect was shot by Tampa police 11 times in the store’s parking lot. He recovered and eventually was sentenced to prison.
In 1986, friends said, Freeman had recently given birth and was living in the Mossvale Lane home when she was attacked by an intruder while her husband was out of town.
Yet despite her hardships, friends said, Katherine Freeman was not angry, bitter or resentful.
“Her attitude was, “Life goes on,”‘ said her friend Karpenko.
Recently, she had been typically upbeat, neighbors said, and making plans to take her daughter to Hawaii in two weeks.
When she did talk of her ex-husband, it was with respect, said Janine Rosen, who lives across the street from Katherine Freeman’s one-story stone home.
“She spoke of him with admiration, talked of his successes,” Rosen said.
For her part, Winkles speculated that the friend who e-mailed her jokes and organized outings for their kids was perhaps hiding an inner pain, accumulated from her life experiences.
“I wonder if it all just added up.”