.05.16.00: jumper, around 6am, female, no hotline phones, hit water, lives in prison
05.17.00, , Top lawyer slain; ex-wife charged, Suspect survives leap off Skyway
Investigators say prominent lawyer Grover Cleveland Freeman Jr., 54, was shot to death Monday night by his ex-wife, Katherine, in his home in Tampa's Carrollwood. Grover Cleveland Freeman lived there with his current wife, Constance.
By AMY HERDY
TAMPA -- Katherine Freeman delivered home-baked poundcakes, bathed a friend's young daughter and chatted with neighbors Monday afternoon in her tony Carrollwood subdivision.
Hours later, investigators say, she shot to death her ex-husband, successful lawyer Grover Cleveland Freeman Jr., 54, before beating and attempting to strangle his wife in the couple's two-story lakefront home in Carrollwood.
Katherine Freeman then drove her 1999 Cadillac to the Sunshine Skyway bridge early Tuesday morning and leaped from the center span.
Remarkably, she survived. Officials credited brisk winds with slowing the 140-pound woman's descent. She is thought to be the fifth person to survive the 200-foot fall since the bridge opened in 1987.
Katherine Freeman was still conscious after drifting more than 40 minutes in the main shipping channel before being plucked from the water by officials with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue, said spokesman David Nolsheim. An initial assessment of her condition showed possible broken legs and a broken pelvis, Nolsheim said.
She was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where she underwent surgery and was in critical condition with internal injuries.
Tuesday afternoon, Hillsborough sheriff's deputies charged the 41-year-old homemaker and former stockbroker with first-degree murder, armed burglary and aggravated battery.
The chain of events stunned her upscale community and left the couple's 13-year-old daughter in shock, friends said.
"We can't fathom any of this happening," said Michele Karpenko, a friend of Katherine Freeman's who answered the door Tuesday morning at Freeman's home at [address withheld], just blocks from her ex-husband's house at [address withheld].
Like many neighbors, Karpenko described her friend as a vivacious, upbeat person who doted on her daughter and maintained a friendly relationship with her ex-husband despite their 1996 divorce after 10 years of marriage.
"They were best friends who got married," she said. After the divorce, she said, Katherine Freeman would sometimes comment she missed her ex-spouse.
"She would say, "I realize how much I liked him as a person,"' Karpenko recalled.
Yet for some reason, investigators said, she armed herself with a handgun and entered her ex-husband's home shortly after 11:30 p.m. Monday. She then confronted him, said sheriff's spokesman Rod Reder, shooting him several times.
Upon hearing shots, Freeman's wife, Constance Freeman, 50, approached the pair and was attacked by Katherine Freeman, who choked her, pistol-whipped her and broke one of her fingers, Reder said.
"Mrs. Freeman then ran to a friend's house, and the suspect fled," Reder said.
Grover Freeman called 911 but died at the scene.
It is not clear how Katherine Freeman spent the time after the shooting and before leaping off the Sunshine Skyway bridge Tuesday morning about 6.
However, she did not return to her home where her daughter was in the care of her mother, said Karpenko, who was watching after the teen Tuesday.
A neighbor and close friend of the couple, Laurie Winkles, said Katherine Freeman may have reacted to tensions between her daughter and Constance Freeman, who had been with the teen Monday when the girl placed a call to her mother.
"She was very protective" of her daughter, said Winkles, who described the woman as "passionate, and utterly devoted" to her child. "Something must have been said to really tick her off."
The incident came as a surprise to others who said that Grover and Katherine Freeman were an ideal example of an amicable split.
Divorce records show that after the couple's breakup, Grover Freeman kept the marital home, valued at 0,000, as well as several condominiums, sports cars and various bank and stock accounts.
Katherine Freeman received 0,000 in cash, ,000 in alimony and ,450 in monthly child support, plus half the furniture and photographs.
Six months later, court records show, Grover Freeman remarried on Oct. 12, 1996, to Constance Elaine King. If that situation was difficult for Katherine Freeman, friends say, she never showed it.
It was one of many challenges she had faced in life.
In March 1983, sheriff's deputies said, someone shot to death her boyfriend, 30-year-old Ronald Heinlein, in his jewelry store on N Dale Mabry Highway.
"Kathy was dating Ronald, and he was a homicide victim," said Reder, the sheriff's spokesman, adding that the case remains open.
A year later, in February 1984, a robber took Katherine Freeman hostage after beating and robbing her in a jewelry store she owned on E Busch Boulevard in Tampa.
The suspect was shot by Tampa police 11 times in the store's parking lot. He recovered and eventually was sentenced to prison.
In 1986, friends said, Freeman had recently given birth and was living in the Mossvale Lane home when she was attacked by an intruder while her husband was out of town.
Yet despite her hardships, friends said, Katherine Freeman was not angry, bitter or resentful.
"Her attitude was, "Life goes on,"' said her friend Karpenko.
Recently, she had been typically upbeat, neighbors said, and making plans to take her daughter to Hawaii in two weeks.
When she did talk of her ex-husband, it was with respect, said Janine Rosen, who lives across the street from Katherine Freeman's one-story stone home.
"She spoke of him with admiration, talked of his successes," Rosen said.
For her part, Winkles speculated that the friend who e-mailed her jokes and organized outings for their kids was perhaps hiding an inner pain, accumulated from her life experiences.
"I wonder if it all just added up."
05.18.00, , Shooting was act of frustration, investigators say. Details emerge that portray the murder suspect as a woman angry with her ex-husband and his wife. By AMY HERDY
TAMPA -- Kathie Freeman drove to her ex-husband's home Monday night with a loaded 9mm handgun she kept for protection, investigators said, then emptied the gun into Grover Freeman, shooting him 14 times.
Hit in the chest and mortally wounded, Grover Freeman managed to dial 911 before dying.
Wednesday, in the aftermath of the killing, details emerged that portray Kathie Freeman as an angry woman increasingly frustrated with her ex-husband, his current wife and differing views on how to raise Grover and Kathie Freeman's teenage daughter.
Naomia Swain, a housekeeper for three years for Grover Freeman, a successful Tampa attorney, and his wife, Connie, said Kathie Freeman appeared upset by her ex-husband's marriage.
"I think it really bothered her to see them together," Swain said.
After killing her ex-husband and striking his wife with the empty gun, police said, Kathie Freeman attempted suicide by jumping off the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Somehow, she survived.
She remains in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg but is expected to survive the internal injuries and broken bones she suffered.
As she drifted in and out of consciousness Wednesday, making requests to see her daughter, investigators searched her home and garage at [address withheld] in Carrollwood. The 41-year-old homemaker and former stockbroker faces first-degree murder, armed burglary and aggravated battery charges.
Friends said Tuesday they were shocked by the violence and that the divorced couple had never shown any signs of friction. They had split amicably, continued to live near each other and shared in the raising of their daughter.
But Swain, the housekeeper, said she thinks Kathie Freeman was upset by recent developments in her ex-husband's current marriage. Grover and Connie Freeman had recently talked through some of their differences and pledged to stay together. Swain said the couple had spent the weekend as an inseparable pair, planting an herb garden and dining out on sushi.
That closeness, she said, may have angered Kathie Freeman.
"I guess it's true what they say about the fine line between love and hate," Swain said.
She described Connie Freeman, 50, as "classy, educated and kind," and said she did not interfere in the raising of Kathie and Grover Freeman's daughter. "She wasn't the evil stepmother," Swain said.
Beaten and bloody, Connie Freeman escaped Monday night by running first to one neighbor's home, and then another before finding shelter. She sought solace with friends Wednesday, said her husband's law partner, Howard Hunter of Freeman, Hunter and Malloy.
Hunter said Connie Freeman has planned her husband's memorial service, set for Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in downtown Tampa.
"She has an inner strength that I have been marveling at," Hunter said.
Friends said there were other sources of tension between Grover Freeman, 54, and his ex-wife.
While Kathie Freeman wanted the couple's daughter to attend a prestigious private school next year, friends say, Grover Freeman wanted her to go to a public school, in part to avoid what he feared would be a superficial crowd concerned with status.
"His concern was that she would then be around people more concerned with what they were wearing and what they were driving" than more valid issues, said Kurt Rhodaback, whose daughter is a friend of Freeman's daughter.
Whatever enraged Kathie Freeman, Swain said, was enough to make her break down the front doors to Grover Freeman's two-story, lakefront home at [address withheld] in Carrollwood on Monday night.
Wednesday afternoon, the frame of the two wooden doors remained splintered.
08.02.00: full article
By DAVID KARP
TAMPA -- As she admitted crimes Friday that will keep her in prison for the rest of her life, Katherine Freeman, 42, sounded remarkably calm.
She answered Circuit Judge William Fuente in short, certain sentences as he asked whether she understood what she was doing.
06.05.00, Mel, St. Louis, MO., What an unfortunate soul Ms. Katherine Freeman was. First murder, then attempted suicide. Her fall and resulting injuries give a whole new meaning to the phrase "taking it up the ass". Hee-hee. I love your site, and I can even spell!
11.05.05, Ian, Hollywood, Florida, Regarding Kathy Freeman who is a jumper on your list, she is doing life in Broward Correctional Inst. I am wondering is there a way to print off your site her information without having to print the entire page, which looks to me many printed pages? (yes, there is a way.)
09.06.06, ex-jail-bird, Wow...I was in prison with Kathie Freeman from 2001 to 2004, she is actively appealing her sentence...she has a real snotty, better-than-thou attitude...oh and she does walk with a very profound limp.... (in this day and age, it would surprise no one if they would let her go. thanks for your input and welcome back to the free world. now behave yourself.)