Man Held in Fatal Shooting of Wife, Her Friend in Court

From Associated Press

A gunman killed his pregnant mail-order bride and one of her friends, and critically wounded another woman in a courthouse as they waited to testify Thursday in the couple's annulment hearing, authorities said.

Timothy C. Blackwell met and married his wife, Susana Remerata Blackwell, in the Philippines two years ago. They separated two weeks after she came to the United States.

Blackwell, 47, claimed his 25-year-old wife duped him into the marriage, in part so she could live in America, court records show. She contended he beat her, forcing her to move out in fear.

He filed for annulment; she filed for divorce, seeking $350 a month in alimony for six months.

On Thursday, shortly before a scheduled annulment hearing, Blackwell opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun as the three women sat on a bench on the second floor of the King County Courthouse, authorities said.

Killed were Susana Blackwell, her 7-month-old fetus, and Phoebe Dizon, 46, the medical examiner's office said.

A third woman, Veronica Laurenda, also a friend of Susana Blackwell, was hospitalized in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds. The three women were shot in the head and chest.

The gunman "was standing in front of the people and he fired probably five or six shots," said Lois Edwards, an attorney in an unrelated case. "We just turned and ran."

The gunman was subdued by three prison guards who heard the shots from a nearby courtroom. Timothy Blackwell was arrested and booked for investigation of homicide, said county prosecutor's spokesman Dan Donohoe.

The two friends were planning to testify for Susana Blackwell, said lawyer Margie Baran, whose firm represented the victim.

Attorney Jeffrey Cyrus Mirsepasy, who represented Timothy Blackwell, said his client worked for a computer company and found his wife through an international matchmaking service.

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