DA Details Winchester Family Slayings

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Editor's note: Some readers may find details in this report disturbing.

BOSTON — The week started off like any other week for a two-parent working family. Laura Stone Mortimer went to work at her job as an economist at an independent research firm and her husband, Thomas Mortimer IV, went to his new job as a senior sales account executive.

But at the end of the day, they had a fight on the phone, says Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, and that precipitated what he called "horrific, unspeakable" homicides.

"Thomas came home and the argument between the two continued," Leone said. "We have come to learn this is just another occasion in marital discord which has occurred between the two for quite some time now."

Thomas Mortimer IV is led from the police station by Police Chief James Palmeri after he was arrested Thursday in Bernardston. (AP)
Thomas Mortimer IV is led from the police station by Police Chief James Palmeri after he was arrested Thursday in Bernardston. (AP)

Later Monday night, Laura’s sister, Debra Stone, called to talk with her sister and mother, who also lived with the family. That was the last time she spoke to her family. The next day, when Stone tried to reach her sister on her cell phone, Leone says Thomas answered, which was unusual.

"At that time she had a conversation with the defendant who said, 'it’s going to be a while before she can get back to you,' " Leone said.

Police believe Thomas Mortimer killed his wife, his mother-in-law, Ragna Ellen Stone, his four-year-old son, Thomas — called Finn — and his two-year-old daughter, Charlotte. Police say it happened sometime between Monday night and Tuesday. Leone says there’s little question in his mind Mortimer killed his family because he left two identical typed letters in the kitchen and living room.

"In this letter, to paraphrase, he said, 'I did these horrible things. What I’ve done is extremely selfish and cowardly. I murdered my family.' "

The murders appear to have happened in the Mortimer's Winchester home. The district attorney would only say the family was killed by a combination of blunt trauma and wounds caused by sharp objects. Firefighters and medics were called to the home Wednesday by Stone, who was worried about her sister. Leone says medics found Laura and Finn lying in a pool of blood in the front hallway and Ellen Stone lying dead in the living room, covered by an oriental rug.

"They had blood spatter and drippings that went up the stairs to the second floor of the home," Leone said. "That blood spatter and that blood trail led them to two-year-old Charlotte’s room, where she was found dead in her crib in a pool of blood."

Leone says the letters left by Mortimer indicate the marital problems were caused by financial difficulties. Mortimer had been out of work for a year.

Winchester police say they were never called to the home to respond to a domestic violence complaint.

This program aired on June 18, 2010.


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