I don't often watch true crime shows on television. The Oxygen Network has a show called "Snapped" that usually features evil women who did horrific things - every once in a while it features a woman who was legitimately in a horrible situation and who ended up having to go to extremes to save her children or herself.
I hadn't known about the case of Heather Grossman, who was formerly married to Ron Samuels, and whose custody battle over her three children with Samuels eventually led to Samuels taking out a contract on her life with three Florida crack users - only they didn't kill her. They just paralyzed Heather for life.
Nine years after the attempted murder, and after Heather's loving new husband John had died of a heart attack, the wealthy and powerful Samuels was finally tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, and 120 additional years. Samuels told his 2nd wife, who also expressed extreme fear of Samuels as Heather did, that he wanted his ex-wife dead. Part of his motive appears to have been to assume custody of his three sons, which, prior to Heather's shooting, Samuels had convinced to make false allegations of abuse against their stepfather John. Money also appears to have been another motive - Samuels had taken out a huge insurance policy on Heather's life during their marriage, and it was still in force at the time of the shooting.
Heather feels there is no chance of rehabilitation for her former husband, whose horrific cruelty has trapped her in a wheelchair forever, with no movement or feeling below her neck. Samuels' sons, having matured, testified about the truth of their experiences at the trial. The oldest son said that he had lied to Children's Services workers years before, when accusing his stepfather of abuse. He stated that he was saying exactly what his father Ronald Samuels had told him to say. When asked why he would lie, he said it was because he was afraid of his father. He said his father was "extremely large and intimidating," with a "very loud voice" and that he "yelled all the time." When Heather was asked how Samuels acted when she would pick up and drop off her children for visits, she said, "He was very loud, intimidating and threatening. He would act like he was going to hit me, shove me, or do something else violent. He threw things and banged doors. Things like that."
I've been there, done that. I wish all of these patterns were identified sooner. I wish they were able to be recorded and identified by authorities. Maybe that would have saved Heather Samuels' life, offered some hope to one of her attackers, a man who feels his life is worthless and cannot believe he was influenced to do this by Samuels. Maybe it would have saved ten years of my life, too. And my baby.