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The Daily



12-11-03: Anderson boys to stay with mother


An Auglaize County judge ruled today that Kimberly Anderson will retain full custody of her children, with visitation rights granted to their slain father’s family.
Auglaize County Common Pleas Court-Juvenile Division Judge Mark E. Spees granted visitation of Erik, 5, and Ryan, 4, to their uncle and aunt, Kevin and Lori Anderson of Cincinnati, but did not grant the couple full custody as they sought.
Kevin Anderson this morning voiced his disappointment with the ruling.
“We’re disappointed but pleased with the unsupervised visits,” which will commence following a period of supervised visits, he acknowledged. “If we can help them develop into healthy, happy adults, then something positive has come out of this case.”
Kim Anderson told The Daily Standard briefly this morning she was “thrilled with the verdict.” Her attorney, Rob Wiesenmayer II of Wapakoneta, commented further.
“We’ve always felt strongly that Kim is a wonderful mother and I believe evidence in court showed that. We’re fine with the ruling and have no intention of appealing it,” Wiesenmayer said.
The attorney said the custody case “is just another battle and another road block put in front of Kim that she has had to overcome. If she is required to protect herself and her children, she will do that,” he added.
Four months after the shooting death of former Celina attorney Brent Anderson, 37, in 2001, Kevin Anderson filed the custody motion with the court.
Brent Anderson was shot to death by Kimberly Anderson, his estranged wife, on Sept. 2, 2001, in the Wapakoneta home they once shared. Kimberly Anderson was indicted for his death but acquitted of all charges during a trial in Oct. 2002, in which she claimed self-defense. The shooting was the culmination of a heated domestic dispute, Kimberly Anderson told the court during the trial.
Kimberly Anderson has retained custody of the two young boys since their father’s death, although she was ordered to have their grandparents present with her for the first few months following the shooting.
Kevin Anderson’s attorney, John Poppe of Wapakoneta, told The Daily Standard this morning the judge apparently did not accept his “public policy” argument. Poppe said that a statute of the Ohio Revised Code states that a parent who kills another parent should not be allowed to retain custody as an award for their actions.
Spees countered that notion in his ruling stating that the statute only applies when a conviction of murder occurs, which it did not in this case. He noted the court disagreed with Kevin Anderson’s assertion that Kimberly Anderson was wrongfully acquitted of murder and therefore is an unsuitable parent.
Poppe did acknowledge that he believes Spees reviewed the case thoroughly and “mapped a plan” in the best interests of the children — the only thing his clients ever really wanted, he said.
In the seven-page ruling, Spees denies the motion for custody to Kevin Anderson and grants the Cincinnati couple supervised monthly visitation until Dec. 31, 2005. After that date, the boy’s uncle and aunt will retain unsupervised visitation one weekend a month. Unsupervised visits could begin much earlier or later than 2006 depending on the children’s psychological readiness, Spees wrote.
Spees stated in the ruling that Kimberly Anderson was not proven to be an unsuitable parent, however it appears she “over-reacted to many situations” including the perceived danger that Brent Anderson posed. She also over-reacted by bringing a loaded gun into the home, by confronting Brent Anderson in her home while alone, by running from him the day of the shooting and “certainly over-reacted by shooting him numerous times,” Spees wrote.
Spees also stated he felt it would be in the best interest, as did child experts, to keep the children with their mother, but allow their father’s family to be a part of their lives, too.
“They must not grow up with the notion that their father or paternal relatives are evil people,” he wrote.
Kevin and Lori Anderson also will receive one week of unsupervised summer visitation with the children beginning in July 2006. Kimberly Anderson was ordered to continue psychological therapy for both boys so the children can prepare for the upcoming unsupervised visits.


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