It's not hard to connect the dots here. This is classic abuser behavior, with the system enabling his continuous abuse of the mother every step of the way. Mom was obviously reading this guy correctly, and that he was a a clear risk to her safety. And yet SHE was the one who had to suppress her address, SHE was the one who had to quit going to work so he wouldn't harm her further. Then he uses the family courts and a "custody dispute" to further threaten her. Mom--thanks to the influence of fathers rights in the courts--has to "make nice" and not sound alienating. He's a great dad, blah blah. Meanwhile this slime ball uses her unemployment against her--even THOUGH HE CAUSED IT.He threatens to kill her at every opportunity, and yet he still has HIS CUSTODIAL RIGHTS. Still has the "right" to carry a gun.
In fact, the (unnamed) judge finally granted him PRIMARY CUSTODY. But is he happy? No. Violent abusers are never happy.
The authorities never lift a finger to stop the harassment and the threats. And now Mom is dead along with two other people.
Don't tell me this just a "tragedy." There were multiple red flags that the authorities ignored.
Dad is identified as KEVIN CLEEVES.
Custody dispute preceded murders; Cleeves expected to plead guilty
Friday By SAMANTHA COSSICK
CHAMBERSBURG - Prior to last summer's triple murder, Kevin Cleeves was in the process of seeking custody of his daughter through Franklin County Central Court.
He will likely never go home to her again.
Cleeves, 36, is expected to plead guilty to three counts of first degree murder and receive three consecutive life sentences today before Judge Shawn Meyers. He is currently being held without bail at Franklin County Jail.
On July 27, Cleeves allegedly shot and killed three people in a Quincy Township driveway -- his estranged wife, Brandi Cleeves, 25; her boyfriend Vincent "Luke" Santucci, 28; and Santucci's mother, Rosemary Holma, 55.
Kevin and Brandi Cleeves lived together since the birth of their daughter, Leia, on Dec. 28, 2007. They did not marry until Feb. 29, 2012 and were separated by June 17, according to court records.
In custody papers filed in Franklin County Central Court, Brandi Cleeves alleged she fled in June to escape the troubled relationship, concealing her address; however, she still maintained contact with Kevin Cleeves, formerly of 14 N. Phillips Ave., Waynesboro.
Brandi Cleeves "finally decided to end the relationship when (Kevin's) alcohol use became so detrimental to the parties relationship that (she) feared for her safety," the records state.
However, Kevin Cleeves, who worked in information technology for Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe in Guilford Township, filed for custody of Leia on July 6 and said in documents that while he wasn't concerned about the safety of their daughter or Brandi's ability to care for her, he was worried about her emotional reaction to her mother's behavior.
In the papers, he cited the living arrangements between Brandi Cleeves and her new boyfriend as a concern and claimed that Leia shared a bed with her mother and boyfriend. He also worried about Leia being affected by Brandi Cleeves changes of address and her recent unemployment.
According to July 11, 2012 court documents, Brandi Cleeves had changed her address to Boonsboro, Md., stating she had previously been living with her boyfriend, but had since moved in with her parents. Prior to this, she had not disclosed her address "because she feared for her safety."
Brandi Cleeves had been working at Applebee's in Waynesboro. While Kevin Cleeves alleged she was fired, she claimed she stopped returning for her scheduled shifts after he allegedly called her work so many times she feared to return, the records state.
She "admits that (Kevin) is capable of caring for the child but denies that he can provide a more stable environment for the child than she can," the records state. "Since September, (Kevin) has threatened (Brandi's) life by text message and physically fought (Brandi) in public. (Kevin) has a license to carry and has held a gun in his hand while the parties had an argument at a custody exchange."
Residents who apply for a license to carry are subject to a background check through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System in Harrisburg, according to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Officials in Harrisburg only provide whether a license was approved, denied or undetermined. They do not disclose what comes up in the background check. Public Opinion was unable to get a date for when Kevin Cleeves received his gun permit. On July 12 a temporary order was granted giving Kevin Cleeves primary custody of their daughter, court records state. Custody exchanges were to take place at noon on Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Wednesdays at the Waynesboro residence of Sarah Killingsworth, Brandi's grandmother.
A conciliation conference was scheduled for Sept. 11, 2012 where an "effort will be made to see if the issues can be resolved by agreement of the parties," court records state.
That day never came. According to charging documents, Pennsylvania State Police said Kevin Cleeves told relatives he had been trying to contact his wife to make arrangements to pick up their daughter and went to Santucci's house in Quincy Township on July 27 to make sure the girl was safe. Kevin Cleeves allegedly confronted his wife and Santucci in a car with Leia in the driveway, but was ordered off the property. Around 9 p.m., he opened fire shooting Santucci in the car, his wife when she jumped out and Santucci's mother as she ran toward him.
Police said he took Leia and fled, later telling authorities he was trying to get to a relative's house in Michigan. An Amber Alert was issued and Kevin Cleeves was apprehended on Saturday, July 28 after police in Austintown, Ohio, said the car was spotted in a hotel parking lot off Interstate 80. The car was later stopped in the parking lot of the Weston Plaza on Route 46 where Kevin Cleeves was arrested without incident, police said. Leia Cleeves was located in the car and was unharmed.
On Aug. 13, 2012, Leia's grandfather, Jeffrey Killingsworth, of Boonsboro, Md., who has been caring for the child since July 30, was permitted to retain physical and legal custody of her.
He "has enjoyed a close, loving relationship with the child since her birth. The child has been living in (his home) since July 10, 2012 after (Brandi Cleeves) fled the residence to escape from an abusive relationship," the records state.
In addition to providing for her living, schooling and entertainment needs, Jeffrey Killingsworth has also enrolled Leia in counseling and taken other steps to ensure her mental well-being, records state.