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Man Kills Pregnant Mail-Order Bride in Courthouse, Police Say

March 3, 1995

SEATTLE (AP) _ She was was a mail-order bride from the Philippines trying to escape a marriage gone sour, seven months pregnant and hiding from a husband who she claimed beat her and refused to let her return home.

On Thursday, Susana Remerata Blackwell sat on a courthouse bench with two friends who were waiting to testify at her annulment hearing.

Police say her husband approached with a semiautomatic handgun and opened fire, killing Mrs. Blackwell and one of her friends with shots to the head and chest. The other woman was critically wounded. Mrs. Blackwell’s fetus did not survive.

Timothy C. Blackwell was subdued by three prison guards who heard the shots from a nearby courtroom.

He ``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.″

Blackwell, a 47-year-old computer technician, was arrested and booked for investigation of homicide.

There are metal detectors outside some courtrooms in the downtown courthouse, but not at the two public entrances. Judges asked for a better security system three years ago, said the county’s presiding Superior Court judge, Anne Ellington.

Officials planned to have metal detectors at the entrances when the courthouse reopened today.

Blackwell’s lawyer, Adrian Pimentel, said he couldn’t ``in a million years″ have anticipated the shooting. But Mrs. Blackwell’s lawyer, Mimi Castillo, said Blackwell had acted strangely in court the day before _ particularly after his wife testified he was impotent.

``He basically said a lot of things that were totally untrue and he ranted and raved in front of the judge and, you know, nobody wanted to agitate him anymore,″ Castillo told KIRO-TV.

The Blackwells were married in the Philippines two years ago. They separated early last year, two weeks after Mrs. Blackwell, 25, came to the United States.

Blackwell filed for an annulment. His wife filed for divorce, seeking $350 a month in alimony for only six months.

She contended his beatings forced her to move out. He said she duped him into the marriage, in part so she could live in America. He also claimed that he was not the father of Mrs. Blackwell’s unborn child.

``He basically met her through some kind of service. He alleged that she was just a different person when she came here as opposed to when she was in the Philippines,″ said Jeffrey Cyrus Mirsepasy, who was Blackwell’s lawyer when he filed the annulment petition. ``There, they got along much differently.″

Mrs. Blackwell told police she wanted to go back to the Philippines, Detective Jim O’Toole said, but her husband told her she had to stay in America for two years and pay him $500 a month to repay the $10,000 he spent to marry her.

Blackwell was charged in February 1994 with misdemeanor assault, but the case was dismissed when Mrs. Blackwell didn’t show up at trial to testify, said prosecutor Kevin Tarvin.

Killed along with Mrs. Blackwell was Phoebe Dizon, 46. Veronica Laurenda, 46, was in critical condition. Like her friends, she was shot in the head and chest.

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