Financial Problems Are Motivating People to Violence.

10/14/2008 02:08:00 PM

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foreclosure-map-may-2008 More people are resorting to violence to solve their problems.  And law enforcement doesn't seem to be helping the situation in some situations.

Read stories of lives changed forever about Pamela Ross, Addie Polk, Carlene Baldermana, Karthik Rajaram, and the Padilla's due to financial problems.

Left, are foreclosure rates for May 2008.




In Tennessee, a woman fatally shot herself last week as sheriff's deputies went to evict her from her foreclosed home.  Pamela Ross, 57, and her husband were fighting foreclosure on their home when sheriff's deputies in Sevierville came to serve an eviction notice.  Jimmy D. Ross was in court on a matter related to a foreclosure on her home, while Pamela was home and had spoken to officers outside her home Monday morning.  While Jimmy was in court, he did receive a 10 day appeal, and the deputies did not, nor did they ever have a "Writ of Possession" to seize the home.

While officers were across the street from the home, they heard a gunshot and found Pameal dead from a wound to the chest.  Reporters attempting to get a statement from Sheriff Ron Seals on the matter have been unsuccessful.  The family's attorney has stated that deputies should not have been at the house, since they did not have the writ in hand.

In an update, it was learned that Pamela had spoken to officers outside her home Monday morning while her husband, Jimmy D. Ross, was in court on a matter related to a foreclosure on their home.  Jimmy doesn't believe the account the officers are telling.

"It doesn't add up," he said in an interview with The Mountain Press on Tuesday. 

He said he told officers Monday that he believed they were responsible for her death.

"One way or another, I said, whether you pulled the trigger or not, you killed my wife."

A friend, he said, talked to Pamela Ross by phone five minutes before her death.

She also left a message with a Galveston, Texas man whom Ross describes as a private attorney general that they had been advising him during the foreclosure and eviction procedure.  "She... said, scared to death, "They're at my front door and my back door, Odell, what should I do?'  And then the phone went dead," Ross said.

Sheriff Ron Seals said officers were sent to the house before the writ evicting the family was issued because they were concerned about what Jimme Ross might do if he were evicted.    Authorities say Ross has made threats against law enforcement and court personnel, and they were aware that he had guns in the home.

"Under normal circumstances, we would not do that (level of force), but we went out there knowing there were weapons in the house and there had been threats," Seals said.  Deputies had seen firearms at the house when they assisted IRS agents who searched the house in relation to a separate case several months ago.  Knowing that and of the alleged threats Ross had made, they decided to send officers there ahead of time. 

They also asked for Sevierville police to assist.  One officer was there as backup before Pamela Ross spoke to the officers and went back inside, Bob Stahlke, a spokesman for the Sevierville PD stated.  Many others converged on the house, however, after officers reporting hearing a shot from inside the house, Stahlke said.

Ross said he doesn't believe his wife would have walked out and spoken to authorities.  She spent most of her time in bed due to a chronic, terminal illness, he said.  "The whole thing was a scam to get me out of my home.  I'll put the bottom line to you," he said.

He denies ever threatening a judge or police officer.  "I don't make threats against anybody," he said.  "I don't have to make threats.  If I'm going to do something, I'll do it."  "We are private people, we don't bother anybody and I don't want anybody bothering us."

... As he left court on Monday, a deputy escorted him to the car and chatted with him as they walked.  When they reached his car, however, he said that the deputy informed him his wife had been in an accident and was being taken to a hospital by ambulance.  He decided to go home to change his clothes before being taken to the hospital.

As he neared his home, law enforcement officers were all around his home and swarmed his car, demanding that he get out.  Ross said he first refused to comply.  "This guy with this big Uzi or whatever it is jumped on the hood of the car there and pointed that gun at me, and they were screaming at me," he said.

He said he was handcuffed and held several hours before being told what had happened to his wife.



A 90-year-old Ohio widow, Addie Polk, shoots herself in the chest as authorities arrive to evict her from house she has called home for 38 years.  A neighbor used a ladder to enter a second-story bathroom window of Polk's home after he and the deputies heard loud noises inside.  He found her lying on a bed, and he could see she was breathing, but also noticed a long-barreled handgun on the bed, she had shot herself two times.  Downstairs they found Polk's car keys, pocketbook and a life insurance policy laid out neatly where they could be found.

A congressman told Addie Polk's story on the House floor before lawmakers voted to approve the bailout package.  Mortgage finance company Fannie Mae dropped the foreclosure, forgave her mortgage and said she could stay in the home.





John Balderman had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy three times from 2004 to 2006, but the courts had dismissed the petitions.  Under Chapter 13 debtors can usually keep their homes while paying off their debts.

In July, 2008 in Taunton, Massachusetts, Carlene Balderrama, a housewife who had hidden her family's mounting financial crisis from her husband, by intercepting letters from the mortgage company and shredding them before her husband saw them shot herself.  She tried to refinance but was declined.  On the day the house was to be auctioned, she faxed a note to PHH Mortgage Corporation of New Jersey around 2:30 pm warning:  "By the time you foreclose on my house, I'll be dead."  The suicide note also had another line, which was not initially released at the time of the news flash.  It read, "I hope you're more compassionate with my husband and son that you were with me."

Then the 52-year-old walked outside, shot her three cats and then herself with her husband's rifle.  The mortgage company notified police, who found her body at 3:30 pm.  The foreclosure auction was scheduled to start at 5 pm.  Notes left on the table revealed months of planning.  She'd picked out her funeral home, laid out the insurance policy, and left a note saying, "pay off the house with the insurance money." 

The husband, John Balderrama, didn't even know of the foreclosure, as Carlene handled all the home finances.  "She put in her suicide note that it got overwhelming for her," said her husband, John Balderrama.  "Apparently she didn't have anyone to talk to.  She didn't come to me.  I don't know why.  There's gotta be some help out there for people that are hurting, than to see somebody lose a life over a stupid house." 

PHH canceled the foreclosure auction that was scheduled to be held that day but it is not clear whether it was done before or after receiving the fax.  Buyers did however, begin to show up for the auction, but learned it had been canceled.




Rajaram, despondent over his own financial problems, shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself in California.  I recently blogged about this incident.



Jessica Padilla, 22, Seward Padilla, 42, and Lori Padilla, 45 were found dead in their home with all three being shot.  Jessica's 2-year-old daughter was found unharmed outside the home.  A man called 911 from the Padilla residence to report a fire in the basement before hanging up, authorities said.  When police officer and firefighters arrived, there were shots originating from the second floor, toward the fire equipment.  Police said that gasoline was used to ignite the fire and that rounds fired from the house hit a fire truck and a house across the street.  The case is still under investigation.

The family was under severe financial strain, according to court documents.  Their home was in foreclosure, and owed nearly $30,000 to credit card companies and had declared bankruptcy, but investigators said they were not sure what role their finances played in the shootings or fire at this point.

There was a history of domestic violence in the family and Seward and Lori had taken out protective orders out against  each other.  Court documents also showed Seaward and Lori had filed twice for divorce.   Police do not know how Jessica, who was five months pregnant, became involved in the dispute.


"Housing Crisis", the plight of a community of foreclosures told through the stories of three families . 
8 Minutes, 49 Seconds.



In an AP article that was released today it states that in Ocala, Florida, Roland Gore shot his wife and dog, set fire to the couple's home, which had been in foreclosure, called 911 and then killed himself.  That incident is from 2003 and not 2008 according to the date of a post on the Firehouse Forums.


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