Marine Corps Veteran Laurel Chasmar Shot to Death Outside New Jersey Home by Ex-Boyfriend Hassan Shahid in Apparent Murder-Suicide (2017)

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Laurel Chasmar, US Marine Corps Veteran

Marine Corps veteran Laurel Chasmar, 28, was shot and killed outside her Morris Plains, New Jersey home on August 5, 2017. Laurel was apparently in a relationship at one point with Hassan Shahid, 32, who is accused of her murder. Hassan Shahid of Jersey City was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Morris township after he allegedly killed Laurel. According to reports, Laurel and Hassan worked together at one of the Novartis facilities in New Jersey and dated for a time but it appears Chasmar ended things and then complained to the police that he was harassing her.

Related Links
Man, Woman Found Dead In Possible Murder-Suicide In Morris County, Sources Say
Two dead identified in Morris Plains murder-suicide
Authorities identify pair killed in apparent murder-suicide
Marine gunned down by her ex-boyfriend outside NJ home, officials say
Mayor: Morris Plains murder victim dated, then complained of ‘harassment’ by shooter
Slain Morris Plains woman, a Marine Corps veteran, had made complaints against killer
Marine shot to death by ex-boyfriend tried to flee her killer, mayor says
Slain Morris Plains Woman Complained About Harassment By Shooter: Reports

A 2011 Documentary Gives You an Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the US Army: On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq


U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura

After watching the 2011 documentary ‘On the Dark Side in Al Doura’ which profiles the case of Army Private John Needham, one can clearly observe the similarities to ‘The Kill Team’ PBS documentary released in 2014. On the Dark Side in Al Doura interviewed Michael Needham, the father of John Needham, who was an Army whistleblower from Fort Carson, Colorado and reported witnessing war crimes and atrocities in Iraq; The Kill Team profiled Adam Winfield, an Army whistleblower from Fort Lewis, Washington who witnessed and tried to report the same war crimes and atrocities in Afghanistan. For the sake of preservation, both John Needham and Adam Winfield admitted feeling pressured to conform or risk their own lives if they didn’t. They both felt like they were being set up to die or participate in the war crimes. Both soldiers at times felt like suicide was their only way out because there was no safe place for them to report overseas nor could they escape the situation. If they made it out of the war zone alive, the return home didn’t fair well for them. The PBS documentary  ‘The Wounded Platoon’ released in 2010 reveals the impacts the wars overseas had on Fort Carson soldiers. After watching these three documentaries, it’s clear why our soldier’s combat experiences traumatized and changed some of them. They not only had to fight a credible threat on the battlefields but some were betrayed by the very team they depended on for their lives.

Michael Needham takes us through the series of events that occurred in the course of John’s short Army career. He shared how John was the fifth generation in the family to fight in a war. John volunteered to join the Army in the spring of 2006, went to Fort Benning, Georgia for training, and then got stationed at Fort Carson. John was an Army Ranger assigned to the 212th, 2nd Combat Team, 12th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was part of the infamous team known as the ‘Lethal Warriors’ which now appears to be disbanded. Part of his initiation into his new band of brothers was fighting other soldiers to determine where one fell in the pecking order. John held his own in the fights and was respected for his wins. According to John, the soldiers that didn’t fair so well in the fights were ‘smoked’ by leadership and peers, which ultimately forced them to leave, quit, or commit suicide. In October of 2006 John was deployed with his Fort Carson team to Al Doura, Iraq. His team was assigned to the Quarter Cav which was known for having some of the deadliest fights in the Iraq war.

John was a good soldier. He worked hard, saved lives in Iraq, and was awarded three medals for heroism and two Purple Hearts. John excelled as part of team, was brave, and his resilience was admirable. But during the course of John’s deployment, he witnessed war crimes and other atrocities committed by leadership and his fellow soldiers that affected his morale. John would also admit that initially he wasn’t quiet about it and when he did question superiors, he was told he didn’t have the right to question leadership. He didn’t dare report the war crimes via e-mail or telephone because he knew leadership could monitor everything. So for the sake of preservation and life’s sake, he did what he had to do to get by and stay alive. John would share that the Army was short of personnel so most of the soldiers got driven into the ground and deprived of sleep. After awhile John felt that he was forced into committing war atrocities that were illegal but feared if he didn’t do it, he would become a liability to the team and ultimately a casualty of his own people.

One night John was sent out on a mission with a Lieutenant (who did not commit war crimes yet remained silent). John thought this was unusual because they didn’t usually get sent out in pairs. They were ambushed by three shooters in the middle of the night who were determined to see them dead. When the shooting began, John pushed the Lieutenant to safety and kept the shooters at bay. He shot every round he had and when he was almost out of ammunition, he called the 212th for back-up on the radio but nobody answered him. Luckily another team was nearby who did answer him and was able to extract the soldiers from the situation and save their lives. It would be this incident that would break John’s spirit. He immediately suspected that he and the other soldier were sent on this mission to be killed. When he got back to the base, he began yelling “Why did you set us up?” And “If you want to kill me, kill me to my face!” But nobody acknowledged him so he went back to his tent where he decided that he would commit suicide. John was exhausted, irate, and he saw no way out. He didn’t want to live anymore. He felt that committing suicide was his only way out. John put a handgun to his head but just as he got ready to pull the trigger, his roommate dove and pushed the gun away from his head. The gun discharged and put a hole in the wall. Soldiers immediately began ascending upon the area. According to John, once leadership learned what happened, they held him down and beat him then locked him in captivity in a small room. The Battalion Commander was the one who kept John captive yet he didn’t press any formal charges.

John’s father Michael learned through John’s friends in Afghanistan that John was being held captive by the Battalion Commander. They were concerned about him. John’s family was already concerned about John’s earlier e-mails and posts on MySpace because it sounded like he had given up, which was not like him. With this information Michael Needham contacted Army commands, Fort Carson, Congressional leaders and the Army Inspector General (IG). He reports that the only office that took him seriously at the time was the IG. Michael was trying to save his son’s life. He told the IG that he didn’t want him to die. The IG’s office shared a list of rights for both John and Michael. And it was at this time Michael learned that he had third party rights and could intervene and act on John’s behalf. Michael was finally able to get in touch with the Battalion Commander only to learn that John was being treated like a criminal. The Battalion Commander informed Michael that John committed crimes and was being sent to prison in Kuwait. But Michael was able to intervene and get the Command to send him to medical instead. Medical determined that John was severely injured both physically and mentally. He had significant back injuries from the multiple explosions and blasts, shrapnel in his body, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Army medical in Iraq referred John to medical in Germany and from there he would be sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the states. But not before the Battalion Commander would put up one more roadblock. Instead, Michael Needham won this battle and John was flown to Germany.

Eventually, John was sent to Ward 54 which is the psychiatric ward at Walter Reed. Michael shared that John appeared to like the psychiatric help he was getting. A month into John’s stay at Walter Reed, he was informed that the Iraq Battalion Commander contacted the 212th Command in Colorado and requested that John be sent back to Fort Carson where he was facing criminal charges including unlawful discharge of a weapon. They were making him go and sent armed guards to accompany him back to Fort Carson. Michael Needham tried to intervene with the 212th at Fort Carson but they said they couldn’t do anything because they had orders from the Battalion Commander. John was sent back to Fort Carson and the harassment he endured in Iraq continued with the 212th in Colorado. John shared that they mentally tortured him, banged on his barracks door, stole his things, and isolated him. It was at this time Michael elicited the help of a veteran advocate Andrew Pogany who went to the command in Colorado and held these people personally accountable. Andrew helps soldiers in John’s situation because he understands how important it is to intervene. John could not get the kind of help that he needed at Fort Carson. Michael shared that the soldiers could see a professional once a week if they were suicidal and once a month if they were not. John’s father wanted him transferred to a Naval Medical Center in San Diego for intensive treatment and so he could be closer to home. Andrew helped make that happen.

Michael began to understand the impacts the war had on his son after John got back to California. John couldn’t handle driving above 35 mph, was suspicious of trash on the side of the road, and was easily startled by loud noises. He could not function in public and suffered with what is known as flashbacks. The Naval Medical Center in San Diego recommended that John get surgery on his back right away. They warned him that he could become paralyzed if he didn’t get the surgery. In the meantime Johns father spoke candidly with one of the Navy doctors about the treatment John received both in Iraq and at Fort Carson. He reiterated that he was concerned about his well being and asked him to help him find a way to prevent John from being sent back to Fort Carson, Colorado. Michael Needham feared that if John got sent back to Fort Carson that he would not return. This doctor agreed to help John. And Andrew Pogany recommended that John report the war crimes to the Army in an effort to protect John from being complicit and implicated in the future. John reported to the Army that he witnessed both leadership and peers killing innocent Iraqi civilians during the October 2006 to October 2007 timeframe in and around Al Doura. It wasn’t long after John made the report that all the charges against him were dropped and Fort Carson gave the necessary approval to transfer him to Balboa Naval Command. John went in front of the medical board and was medically retired for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and back injuries. He was discharged honorably from the Army. The Army investigated John’s claims but concluded that no war crimes were committed.

Michael and John won a lot of battles with the US Army but soon they would lose the war. Just days after John was discharged from the Army, he would be accused of beating his new girlfriend to death with his bare hands. John Needham was charged with the murder of Jacqwelyn Villagomez and jailed for ten months until his family raised enough money to get him out on bail. John was not given treatment while jailed so the family was motivated to get him out so he could get the treatment he needed. John did in fact follow through with getting treatment and he learned a lot about himself in the process. He spent some time on camera talking about how the combat stress and the betrayal from his team impacted him. He talked about how he didn’t realize the significant impacts from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. John recognized how PTSD and TBI did in fact play a role in his fight or flight response mechanisms and that it may be because these conditions went untreated that he disocciated, snapped and beat his girlfriend to death. The two were in a heated argument after Jacqwelyn attacked one of John’s female friends. Both of them were volatile but unfortunately there were no witnesses to the event as John’s friend was outside the home calling the police to report Jacqwelyn. While John was awaiting trial, he went to Arizona to get another surgery and visit with his mom. On February 19, 2010 following treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs, John would be found dead in his room from an overdose on painkillers. The cause of death at autopsy was considered undetermined and it is unclear if John accidentally overdosed or committed suicide.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, M.D. (Ret.), a former top military psychiatrist who until recently was a consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told us: “[TBI ]most sensitively affects executive functioning, that part of the brain that we use for judgment and we use for decision making … when we are in situations of intense emotion. So if a person is affected neurologically … they don’t have the controls that they had before. … They can’t think as clearly. …They are really vulnerable to just reacting, overreacting, particularly maybe doing something that they had done when they’d been in combat.” –The Wounded Platoon

As a parent, Michael Needham has questions for the Army. Why don’t they even recognize the problem? Why don’t they take care of the soldiers? And why did they leave his son John Needham behind? The documentary ‘On the Dark Side in Al Doura’ concludes with the reminder that since the Patriot Act was passed and Dick Cheney declared that we needed to go into the shadows, the definition of torture has been blurred. The Abu Ghraib prisoner torture and abuse scandal erupted under the Bush administration in 2003 but no war crimes have been investigated under President Barack Obama’s administration. If the rule of law has been lost, what do we have? Our military personnel have a responsibility to abide by the rules established by the Geneva Conventions. John Needham and Adam Winfield both reported witnessing innocent civilians murdered by their fellow leadership and peers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They both also shared the impact the crimes had on their mental health and morale. They wished they could have reported the crimes to someone who would have listened and understood that their lives were in danger. We can learn a lot from John Needham and Adam Winfield; they have experienced what it’s like to be a whistleblower in the US Army. They have clearly illustrated what toxic leadership in the Army looks like and how whistleblowers in the US military have nowhere to turn.

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Private John Needham, US Army

Related Links:
Dateline NBC Mystery: Private Needhams War
PBS Documentary: The Wounded Platoon
On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows
PBS Documentary: The Kill Team
The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy
Retired Army Pvt John Needham Beat his Girlfriend Jacqwelyn Villagomez to Death, Then Died of an Overdose on Painkillers Awaiting Murder Trial (2008)
Honoring Jacqwelyn Villagomez who Died at the Hands of Retired Army Private John Needham (2008)

Ali and Josh Hobson: Sexual Assault and Retaliation in the US Air Force (2015)

Air Force family shares their experience after the unthinkable happens. via Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Navy Veteran Victor Saucedo Shot and Killed in Home by Ex-Girlfriend; Navy Veteran Vegas Bray Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison (2012)

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Victor Saucedo, US Navy Veteran

Never have sex with a crazy ex. -Profiler Candice DeLong, Deadly Women

Victor Saucedo served as a damage controlman in the US Navy and was stationed at Naval Base San Diego in California. The ambitious Victor left the Navy in 2012 and began working on a college degree in law enforcement. He wanted to do well so he could provide for his four year old son. He had lots of friends, a loving family, and was an all around great guy. Victor met Vegas Bray, who was also in the Navy, at the Naval Base in San Diego; they remained friends even after she was discharged. Victor reconnected with the popular, well liked twenty-two year old Vegas at the gym; they both liked to work out. Victor was smitten initially and the two began a serious relationship in March 2011. Victor and Vegas spent a lot of time together.

Then Vegas realized she had to share Victor with his child, an ex-girlfriend, and all his friends. Vegas was especially jealous of the mother of his child because she had to be the only person in Victor’s life. Her jealousy was brewing because of her immature personality and stunted emotional development. Vegas Bray was both abandoned and abused, and as a result had a difficult time with men. Vegas tried to use sex to control Victor. If Victor went out with his friends, Vegas would show up and ask him to leave. This behavior embarrassed Victor and he may have lost his friends but he was never going to give up on his son. Vegas accused Victor of spending all his time with his son. Victor didn’t hide the fact that his boy came first and broke up with Vegas in March 2012. Although they still hooked up even after the break-up.

Vegas had a rough childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was twelve; she didn’t know who her father was. But she was pretty, smart, and well liked. She was described as nice by those who grew up with her. She grew up in the heavily populated military community in San Diego and as a result was inspired to join the enlisted ranks in the Navy after high school graduation in 2007. She worked as a Machinist at Naval Base San Diego. But Vegas didn’t like it. She was not adjusting well to the rules and regulations and applied for an early discharge. The discharge application was approved and she was administratively discharged from the Navy in 2010. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do so she began working as a cocktail waitress. She met Victor in 2011 and he broke up with her in 2012.

Instead of moving on, Vegas started pulling childish pranks. She sat outside his home, followed him, threw eggs at his car, keyed his car, punctured his tires, threw paint at his door, and threatened to kill him. Victor moved to a new apartment within the complex to escape the escalating abuse. He even considered moving back to Chicago, Illinois but didn’t want to leave his son behind. He had a feeling Vegas would kill him. After she found out where he lived, Vegas broke a window at the new place. Victor didn’t want any confrontations with her. And even after all this, he still wanted to be friends. He went to the police once to report the stalking behavior and the threats to his life but he didn’t feel like he was taken seriously. He also chased Vegas down after she threw a bottle through his car window. He then called the police but declined to press charges hoping the warning would do the trick.

Vegas told Victor she was going to move into the same apartment complex as him and Victor agreed to be a co-signer on the new apartment. Vegas went to Victor’s place on October 15, 2012 to talk about the co-signing arrangement. Vegas and Victor drank and talked all evening; they had a good time and ended up sleeping together. The next morning, Vegas wanted to go to breakfast but Victor did not. Vegas felt used and taken advantage of; she was angry. What Victor thought was a casual night with an ex meant something completely different to Vegas. This night made her feel closer to Victor, more possessive, and got her hopes up that something would rekindle. Once Victor realized his mistake, it was too late. Because of her abandonment issues, she felt rejected. She was truly devastated by this experience and her rage kicked into overdrive.

Vegas was obsessed with Victor and wanted to know why he broke up with her. On October 16, 2012, Vegas went to Victor’s home in Imperial Beach and confronted him. He reiterated that it was over. She shot him six times at close range. Then when he was down, she coldly pointed the gun at his head and fired rapidly three more times. Police would learn that she left him a message on his answering machine begging him not to leave her. She went to his apartment with a plan after he didn’t call her back, she murdered him in cold blood. Once he was dead, she called the police to report that she found Victor dead with his gun lying next to him. Vegas implied that Victor committed suicide.

After detectives observed the crime scene, they found Victor lying in the hallway with a gun at his side. He had been shot multiple times in the face, head, and upper body; a suicide was not possible. The police felt that referring to Victor’s death as a suicide was preposterous; they quickly deduced this was a homicide. But Vegas’ child-like mind failed to see the absurdity of the statement. Vegas voluntarily went to the police station and told investigators that she couldn’t remember what happened because she blacked out. During the interview, Vegas told investigators that Victor broke up with her on the phone and unfriended her Facebook. Although she had other plans, she turned around on the highway and went to Victor’s home to confront him, what the hell?

Vegas Bray said she didn’t plan on going back to Victor’s house. She said she didn’t remember anything and blacked out but remembered her ears were ringing. She also admitted that the black outs began in childhood. She said she was sexually abused as a child and when she reported it to her mother, she wasn’t believed. She did see a psychiatrist to work on her depression and her disability, post traumatic stress disorder. She also admitted that the 38 caliber revolver was hers. Others described Vegas as unstable; she had quick temper and flew off at the handle. Witnesses confirmed she was jealous of the ex-girlfriend and would often cause scenes. They said one time she even held a gun to Victor’s face and this is when he left her. He didn’t want anymore drama unfortunately leaving her only heightened the drama.

Vegas Bray was arrested later that day and charged with the murder of Victor Saucedo. It took two years to declare Vegas mentally fit to stand trial. The jury would learn that Victor was shot nine times with hollow point bullets meant to do maximum damage. And they learned that a 38 caliber revolver only held six bullets so Vegas had to reload the gun before shooting Victor three more times. This fact also matched testimony by witnesses who said they heard 5-6 gunshots, silence, then three more shots. The defense brought up Vegas’ difficult upbringing with her abusive, neglectful mother but the jury decided it didn’t excuse taking a life. In 2016, Vegas Bray was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to fifty years to life in prison. Vegas Bray was an unstable, jealous ex with a gun who killed Victor Saucedo because she couldn’t control him.

Related Links:
Emotional Vigil Held for Slain Father
‘Fly Guy’ Victor Saucedo Remembered at Candlelight Vigil
Friends remember local sailor killed in Imperial Beach
Family, friends say shooting victim was stalked
Ex-Girlfriend Arrested in IB Homicide Case
Woman accused of gunning down ex-boyfriend in Imperial Beach
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Woman Charged with 1st Degree Murder After Man Is Shot
Murder suspect: ‘I was never jealous’
Vegas Bray Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Ex-Boyfriend
Imperial Beach Murder Suspect’s Facebook Page Can’t Help
Prosecutors: Woman harassed ex-boyfriend before killing him
Family: Sheriff Failed to Protect Ex-Sailor From Shooting Death
Homicide Charge On Hold: Vegas Bray Headed to Mental Hospital
Woman accused of killing ex-boyfriend determined to be mentally competent to stand trial
Trial set for suspected boyfriend killer
Trial Date Set For Woman Who Shot Ex-boyfriend Nine Times, San Diego
January Trial Set for Vegas Bray in Navy ‘Fatal Attraction’ Case
Vegas Bray (Hellbeasts)
Former Navy sailor found guilty of murdering ex-boyfriend
Fatal attraction case ends in woman’s conviction
Ex-Girlfriend Said to Have Stalked, Harassed Ex-Boyfriend, Convicted in His Murder
Woman involved in fatal attraction case convicted of first-degree murder
Long term for stalker who shot boyfriend to death
Woman who shot ex-boyfriend to death sentenced
Woman Who Stalked, Murdered Ex-Boyfriend Gets 50 Years
Woman Who Stalked, Killed Ex-Boyfriend Gets 50 Years to Life in Prison
Woman who stalked and shot her ex-boyfriend 9 times claimed his death was suicide
Ex-Lover Jealousy Turns Lethal: The Vegas Bray Story
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Woman accused in fatal shooting of ex-boyfriend appears in court
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Mental competency hearing set for woman accused of murder
Guilty verdict in fatal attraction case
Snapped: Vegas Bray | Oxygen
Snapped: Vegas Bray Calls 911 | Oxygen
Snapped: Vegas Bray Interrogation | Oxygen
Snapped: Stalking is Dangerous
Ex-Lover Jealousy Turns Lethal: The Vegas Bray Story
Deadly Women: Cling ‘Til Death (Investigation Discovery)


These Deadly Women won’t let their men go… they “Cling ‘Til Death.” -Discovery ID

Navy Veteran Richard Uffelman & Two Children Opened Fire and Killed Neighbors Michael and Florence Phillips in Maine, Richard Sentenced to Life in Prison (1989)

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Richard Uffelman, US Navy Veteran

On August 29, 1989, Navy veteran Richard Uffelman and his two sons opened fire from their living room window and shot and killed their neighbors Michael and Florence Phillips in Machiasport, Maine. The Phillips family moved back to Maine so they could be closer to their family and the ocean, and they wanted to escape crime in Indiana. Shortly before they moved to Maine, a murder occurred outside their home and this was it for them; they wanted to raise their son Michael in a safe environment. Richard and Anita Uffelman and their two sons were the new neighbors of the Phillips in Maine. Richard was described as an authoritarian and a believer in good order and discipline. He worked at the local post office and taught his two children to shoot guns. Initially the neighbors were good friends and their boys played together. At some point, family came to visit the Phillips for a week. The happy family reunited outside on the front lawn while they barbecued, drank some beers, and enjoyed one another’s company. Apparently Richard found a broken bottle on his lawn during the event and automatically assumed the Phillips threw the bottle on his lawn. Richard called the police to complain about the incident but there was no proof since the Phillips denied doing it. This was it for Richard; the Phillips home interfered with his view of the ocean and he was going to exact his revenge.

After this first broken bottle incident, Richard continued to call the police complaining that the neighbors were throwing bottles on his property. He would bag them up and give them to the police as evidence. The Phillips continued to deny the allegations. The police were beginning to get concerned for the Phillips. Then Richard’s wife Anita called the Phillips family and told them that Richard did not want their two sons playing with Michael anymore. Florence was confused. Soon Richard began harassing them while they were outside on their lawn. He used a megaphone and yelled at them until they went back into their house. The Phillips became fearful of him because he was quite literally bullying them. Richard upped the anti and put up some bright lights that shined directly on their home. He also shot guns in front of his home with his two boys on a regular basis which to the Phillips began feeling threatening. They called the police to ask Uffelman to stop shooting the guns because it felt like he was flexing his muscles but their was nothing illegal about shooting guns for target practice in Maine. The police couldn’t do anything. They needed evidence so Michael and Florence set up a video camera to start taping the behavior because they were not the gun types.

Tension and fear was building daily. The Phillips called the police on Richard Uffelman and Uffelman called the police on them. Now Richard wanted a protection order. It was obvious to police that Richard was getting paranoid and he had some fear that could not be alleviated by the police. Uffelman wanted to play war. Uffelman began dressing in full military fatigues with his two sons and they all carried guns and marched together as if they were in the military or a militia. The kids were impacted by Richard’s paranoia as well; as a matter of fact the whole family was brainwashed. Eventually the Phillips were afraid of Uffelman and his two sons. The Phillips left the city to get away from violence and now they were in the middle of it. They decided to file a harassment suit to get Richard Uffelman to stop. At this point, they felt trapped in their own home and they continued to videotape because it was their only option. One day Richard and his two sons armed with guns started chasing the Phillip’s son after school as if he was prey. The trio scared the entire Phillips family and they called the police again. The cops took it seriously and knew things were not going to turn out right. The Phillips got a protection order and then went on a vacation to Indiana to visit family in July 1989.

While the Phillips were visiting with family, they began viewing the videotapes. All of them were terrified at what they were witnessing but the Phillips were stuck financially. They assured their family they would be fine but in reality they were afraid Richard Uffelman would kill them when they got back. They asked their family to raise their son Michael if Uffelman killed them. They left for Maine the next day because it was their home and they had no other option. They got back to the war zone and the front lines had moved closer to home. When they got out of their vehicle, they realized that someone had dumped gasoline on their front porch. They witnessed someone running in the shadows from their home to Uffelman’s home. They called the police again but they didn’t have any proof that Uffelman had done it. They all recognized that Uffelman was raising the stakes. Unfortunately the system was at a stand still until someone made an overt act. On August 29, 1989, family visited the Phillips because they were celebrating a pregnancy in the family. The Phillips revealed to them that dealing with Uffelman was very stressful because they hadn’t caught anything of value for their harassment case. In this case, the best evidence would come too late.

Michael and Florence Phillips left the house that evening for a walk, just like every other night. This time Michael was carrying a gun as they walked in an effort to let Richard know that they were not going to take it. Then all of a sudden Richard and both of his sons began shooting at both of them from the living room of their home as they walked. The remaining family in the home were fearful that they were going to kill young Michael next. Meanwhile, Michael and Florence are struggling to move to safety in the woods to escape the barrage of gunfire. Uffelman did go to the Phillips home but turned around and left. After this near miss, the three family members in the home left to protect young Michael. They were not sure how Michael and Florence were doing at this point; they were not sure if they had been murdered or if they were still alive. Police arrived on the scene and knocked on Richard Uffelman’s door. They found him sitting at his kitchen table which was covered with handguns and firearms. The police were worried about their own safety but Uffelman surrendered without incident and he was taken into police custody. Michael and Florence Phillips both died at the scene in the woods where they attempted to escape the gunman.

Richard Uffelman was arrested for murder after the Phillips’ bodies were found. His two sons participated in the shootings as well and together they fired twenty-five rounds or so from the inside of their home. Investigators concluded the two boys were doing what they were told to do; they were victims too and as a result were not charged. Upon search of the property, police learned that Uffelman’s land was rigged with trip wire and his home was riddled with explosives. Bomb technicians were called in to remove the undetonated devices. Police also found secret passageways and tunnels. Uffelman tried to claim self-defense at his trial but the video coverage the Phillips had showed otherwise. The videotapes revealed that Uffelman went outside to check to see if his prey were dead; his murderous intent was all captured on film. Richard Uffelman was sentenced to life in prison for the first degree murders of Michael and Florence Phillips. Young Michael sued Richard Uffelman in Maine Superior Court and was awarded a wrongful death judgement for $513,320 but he has never received a dime. According to a YouTube site called Abandonment of Maine, shortly after new owners moved into the Uffelman home, the house caught on fire and burned to the ground.

Related Links:
Fatal Feud Divides a Village in Maine
Killer in Taped Shootings Sentenced to Life in Prison
State of Maine v. Richard B. Uffelman (1993)
Sons Tell of Fear They Felt
Uffelman sons describe fear before killing of neighbors
Machias killer to petition for new trial today
True Crime Stories: Richard Uffelman
10 Disturbing Cases Of Neighbors From Hell
Into Their Own Hands by Gary Provost (Book)
How Can Broken Soda Bottles Lead To Revenge?
Fear Thy Neighbor, ‘Red Picket Fences’ (ID YouTube)


The Phillips’ family moves to a quiet seafront town in Maine to escape a crime wave in Indiana. But their dream home comes with a not so dreamy ex-military neighbor. A barrage of gunfire between the houses one night shatters both families forever. -Investigation Discovery