Wife: “If you kill me, you won’t go to heaven”
A visit by a bill collector on Christmas Eve threatening to foreclose on the home of a Ruther Glen man is what his attorney said caused him to snap and attempt to kill his wife in a botched murder-suicide last year.
William “Bill” Good, 55, appeared in Caroline County Circuit Court today for trial on charges of attempted murder and aggravated malicious wounding. But the attempted murder charge was dropped and the other reduced to unlawful wounding, which he pleaded guilty to in a plea agreement.
According to Defense Attorney John Rockecharlie, Good and his wife of 27 years, Margaret, were having financial problems.
The couple had their dream home in Hanover County foreclosed on years ago and were living in a mobile home on Ruther Glen Road in Caroline.
Rockecharlie said Good was laid off from his construction job last fall and had to decide whether to pay his mortgage or their health insurance.
Good chose the insurance since he and his wife both suffer from substantial health problems, Rockecharlie said. Good suffers from chronic pain due to a work-related injury that broke every bone in his back and was later in a car accident with a tractor-trailor, both if which required multiple surgeries. His wife had a debilitating stroke leaving her unable to work.
“It was a choice of pay Peter or pay Paul,” he said. “Then on Christmas Eve they got a knock on their door saying ‘you’re behind on the mortgage.’”
Judge Joseph Ellis shook his head at the thought of a bill collector threatening to take someone’s home on Christmas Eve and said, “Scrooge does live.”
Rockecharlie said the stress caused by that visit and the possibility of losing another home weighed on Good’s mind for three days.”He thought the only way to get through this was a murder-suicide,” he said.
In court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer described the early morning Dec. 28 attack.
He said that Good called his wife to the window to look at a deer that was in the back yard in the snow. She didn’t see it, Spencer said, so he told her to come outside on the porch. Once outside, Spencer said Good pushed her down a small set of wooden stairs and began beating her into a paved area behind the home near a flower garden.
Rockecharlie said right before or during the attack on the 61-year-old woman, Good told her “I’ll see you in heaven.” She responded by saying, “If you kill me, you won’t go to heaven.”
Then the attack stopped, Rockecharlie said.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call at the home at 5 a.m. on Dec. 28.
Photographs taken by police show pools of blood in the Goods’ snowy backyard and greusome images of the injuries to his wife’s head and arm.
Margaret Good survived the attack and was in court in support of her husband today, along with her children and pastor.
Rockecharlie described Good as a nice man with no prior criminal history, who was diagnosed by a mental expert as having had an acute stress disorder.
“This was a crime of despair, not a crime of malice,” he told the judge.
Rockecharlie also said that Good, who has been in jail since the attack, has been assisted by his church and employer. They’ve offered him a place to stay and to work so that, if released on bond, he can continue to financially support his family.
“The scrooge is still banging at the door,” he said. “He is $4,000 behind and they are going to lose the home” if he doesn’t get out of jail and start working.
Judge Ellis said he was very reluctant to grant bond due to the seriousness of the attack and potential for Good to go into another state of depression. He granted a $5,000 recognizance bond as long as Good does not return to the home where his wife lives, has no physical contact with her without a select group of people present and undergoes mental health counseling.
“If there is any violation, no matter how tiny or minute, I’ll put you back in that jumpsuit,” Ellis said very sternly.
Ellis made Good turn around and look at the group of five people that were sitting behind him in the courtroom.
“As bad as everything has been, how can anybody be depressed about the support he is receiving now? You are blessed, so honor that respect that you are receiving,” Ellis said. “You probably don’t deserve it yet, but they have so much confidence in you. So don’t give up on yourself so quickly. You’re luckier than you deserve to be to have these people here today.”
Rockecharlie said Good’s wife has been visiting him in jail and is now at a point where she is comfortable with him being released.
Spencer said his position on this case is to honor the wishes of the victim.
“What we did was what the victim wanted,” he said. “Mrs. Good does want him to be working to make money for the house. Perhaps the two can rebuild the trust after what has happened.”
A sentencing date was scheduled for Oct. 26.