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TRIAL AND TERROR

Page 3 of 5

"On Tuesday, I went into court and notified Judge Dunevant about what had been happening.

"Mari came to court again to observe the trial. When she went back to her car, which was parked in a garage across the street, she found that someone had written on the steering column the following message: 'Go Home Bitch.' Carved in the front seat with a pen was the message: 'You're not listening, Mari.' That night, she found an article circled with a black felt pen in her home-delivered copy of the Scottsdale Progress. The headline was, 'This will take a long time. We will all be dead.'

"On Wednesday, Mari did not go to court. Around noon, someone threw a rock, smashing our bedroom window. Wrapped around the rock was a woman's picture with features similar to Mari's. She filed a police report at once. Later, she went outside the house to find the following scribbled message: 'Widower Steve.'

"The following morning was Thursday. Mari stayed home again. At about 9:40 a.m., the same caller was on the phone again. 'We miss you in Room 904. You're like family,' he said. He was referring to the number of the courtroom in which Shoen v. Shoen was being tried.

"Now Mari knew that someone was watching her every move.
"That afternoon the terrorism was escalated. Someone stuck Mari's small purse, that had been stolen from her car, through the bathroom screen. Inside the purse, which had been slashed, was a family photograph. My wife's picture had been cut out.

"On Friday, Mari spotted a young man at the bathroom window. He ran away, and I just happened to be arriving home. Later, I found a paper clip at a side window where someone had tried to open window locks. There was also a butcher knife left by the back gate. Finally, there was some writing on the front door which said: 'We're just getting started.' Once again, we filed another police report.

"On Saturday, we found a portion of a blue towel taken from Mari's car stuffed between the bathroom window and the screen. On the towel was a message: 'Then there were three.' Red paint was smeared on the bathroom window screen, and a pair of bent scissors was found thrown up against our side door. The police came and took photographs."

Sunday, the harassment took a turn that might possibly give police a lead in their investigation.

"While I was out in the yard," Steve says, "they called again. They told Mari that she should tell me 'to warn Greenberg.'

"Mr. Greenberg was a witness we had called. . . . He was coming to town on Monday for testimony on Tuesday, and I had not told anyone about his coming other than the trial counsel for Joe and Mark Shoen . . . "On Monday, a rock was thrown through our bedroom window, narrowly missing Mari. Wrapped around the rock was my wife's hair clip that had been taken from the car. A message read: 'Goodbye sweetheart.' Another police report was taken by Scottsdale police.

"Tuesday, Mari found an envelope card on her car windshield. Inside was a condolence card expressing deep regret for her loss. Later, there was a phone call urging her to watch Channel 3. They were doing a special on the O.J. Simpson murder.

"On Wednesday morning, Mari drove to Walgreen's. While she was inside, someone let the air out of two tires. There was a message written on the whitewall of one tire: 'Gotcha.'

"Later that same morning, Mari received a call from someone claiming to be an administrator at our son's school. She said our son was missing. It took Mari several frantic phone calls before she could ascertain it was a cruel hoax.

"On Friday, our phone lines were cut, and it was necessary to buy cellular phones to maintain contact with the outside world. For the rest of the day, there was a series of drive-by sightings of the house by two men in a car driving at high speed. These continued throughout the afternoon.

"On Saturday, several strange cars were spotted parked in the neighborhood with the motors running. The telephone company came to repair the lines.

"On Sunday, while I was at the law office preparing for Monday's trial proceedings, the phone lines at my house were cut again.

"Nothing happened on Monday. The phone lines were repaired.
"Then, on Tuesday, Mari got a call discussing life insurance for women. The same voice that had been taunting Mari for days came on again. 'Take this seriously,' the voice warned and hung up.

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Tom Fitzpatrick