One of my colleagues was murdered by her husband in front of the
newspaper office this week.
I've held off writing anything personal about it for a couple of days,
trying to gather my thoughts and make sense of it all. Of course, I
Her name was Mary Babb, a sales representative for the Morning Sun.
She was a good one, hard working, smart, a good account manager. But
she'd married a guy, Tom, who turned into an abuser.
There's a history of abuse. He once held a knife to her throat. He was
out on bond facing charges of felonious assault, criminal sexual
conduct (involving a gun), domestic violence and felony firearms. Mary
was afraid of him, and when the chance came for her to get out, she
left him and took their son, Sam, age 3.
Tom wouldn't let go. On Tuesday afternoon, he was waiting for her in
the newspaper parking lot in his truck. When she came in from seeing
clients, he rammed her SUV, pushed it more than 100 feet and flipped
As she hung from her seat belt, he got out of his truck, and shot her
twice, point-blank, with a 20-gauge shotgun. He got back in his truck
and went to see his mama.
He's in jail now, and I would be amazed if he ever gets out. Michigan
mandates life in prison for first-degree murder, and that's what this
looks like to me.
I wrote her profile in the paper; that's one of the things I do very
well. The feedback I got was that many people couldn't finish the
story through their tears. Now, it's time for me to cry.
I don't know what's going to happen to Sam.
Tom, trying to manipulate the system, had filed for custody of his
son. Obviously, it's not going to happen now, and Tom probably
wouldn't have gotten custody in any case, given the history of
This enraged, psycho killer never should have been on the street. Yet
I'm sure, in his own mind and the stories he'd tell anyone who would
listen, he was the good guy, the wronged husband, the unwillingly
single dad who couldn't see his kid.
Clearly, that all was crap, but somebody would have listened to Tom
before he killed Mary. And events like this give power to false
accusations of abuse.
Ultimately, I have to believe truth wins out. But it's a battle, and
people are hurt, destroyed, even killed in that battle.
For the sake of my own kids, for the sake of kids like Sam, I have to
keep the faith. It just isn't easy.