We are shocked and horrified when a mom kills her own flesh and blood because moms are supposed to have a natural affection for a child but when a father takes the life of his own there’s usually a more sinister reason behind his actions. Especially when kids are caught in the crossfire between feuding parents over who sees whoever on what day with whatever kind of visitation and custody rules. When the courts become involved in marital and child custody issues, the results and outcome can be drastic. The “I want to hurt you for the rest of your life” theory is sometimes the ultimate answer or payback that a hurting father offers as the reason or motive for snuffing out his own child in cold blood. The cases of Robert Filippi and Steven Todd Nelson are perfect examples of this.
ROBERT EMMETT FILIPPI
While on assignment in Tokyo 43 year old banker Robert Filippi met his Japanese wife and in 1996 they married and moved to the United States. After two kids, the marriage fell apart and his wife wanted to move back to Japan where all her relatives lived. On a visit to Japan she stayed 6 weeks longer than what she promised sending Robert in a panic. When she came back, he filed for divorce, kicked her out of their house and somehow got sole custody of the girls. His wife – who didn’t work – spoke very little English and didn’t understand the United States court system on divorce and custody. She and Robert argued over custody and visitation while she moved into a hotel. As their marriage ended, he got scared she would take 2 year old Lindsay Filippi and 4 year old Nicole Filippi back to Japan for good so to further hurt and devastate his wife, on June 9 2002 he decided to strangle his two daughters and try to kill himself. Two weeks before the murders he wrote in his journal:
‘Be prepared bitch to live in constant anxiety and pain and loss and I hope you go out of your f___g mind with grief.”
He wrote two more suicide notes, one to his sister saying he won over his wife and for her not to give her access to his house or his money. The other suicide note was to his wife saying you can go home now. Next he tried to hang himself from a beam in his basement’s ceiling but couldn’t go through with it. He swallowed a bunch of prescription pills and called his sister and confessed to what he had done. She immediately called the cops and when they got to his home at 10800 Harmel Drive in Columbia that night they found him at the kitchen table with an empty pill bottle and a soda. Even seasoned cops were horrified at finding the girls’ bodies in their beds and they were pronounced dead on arrival at Howard County General Hospital. After Robert was treated at Laurel Regional Medical Center he was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder. To avoid the death penalty he pleaded guilty and got life without the possibility for parole. Part of his condition to pleading guilty is he can’t ever ask a judge to reduce his sentence and prosecutors can file for the death penalty if he ever got a new trial for any reason.
STEVEN TODD NELSON
Thirty seven year old Steven Todd Nelson from Dundalk fought with his son’s mother over custody and visitation of 3 year old Turner Nelson. Court documents show he asked a judge for more visitation writing ‘I would love to have my son with me as much as possible’. On February 8 2008 things took a drastic turn for the worst when a call came into the 911 dispatch center saying a man threw something off the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Minutes later, another call came in saying a man was on the bridge waving his hands in the air screaming, “No! No! No!” When the cops showed up, he was gone. A little later Steven’s mom called 911 reporting that he had just tossed his son off the bridge and in an effort to kill himself had just swallowed a whole assortment of household cleaning products. Steven spent a week in a coma at University Hospital before he recovered and confessed to police that he had indeed threw his son off the bridge because ‘demons made me do it’. Turner’s body wasn’t found until 5 months later. Steven pleaded guilty to second degree murder and got a 50 year prison sentence.