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Monday, February 27, 2006
Robert Flor: Trouble with a Capital "T"
September 29, 2005Robert Flor (38) has a history of violence. When he was 18, he and his mother parted ways, because he'd raised his hand to strike her.
Flor's sister, Tricia Heimbach, told police her brother had had a difficult childhood. His father left when his mother was pregnant with him. Six stepfathers followed. When he was 2, Flor allegedly set fire to his family's kitchen. He killed a puppy and sawed off the head of his hobby horse, Heimbach told police. While attending Pennsbury High School, he began a lifelong problem with drugs, she and other family members said. He later dropped out of school.In 1989, he was arrested for drunk driving. He told the cop "I wish I had your 9mm so I could shoot you in the head." A month later, he was charged with stabbing a man. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 8 to 23-months in prison.
In 1995, he was sentenced to one to three years in prison for hitting three cops with a baseball bat when they responded to a domestic dispute call. He used the baseball bat after he failed in his attempt to grab one of their guns.
He was repeatedly abusive to the mother of his now 7-year old son, Ronda Bealer. "When I snap, you'll be the first one I take out," he often told her. He eventually lost contact with his son and quit paying support.
On September 29, he was angry with authorities for putting his 2-year old daughter into foster care. He loved his daughter dearly, and was desperate to get her back.
On that day, Flor and his girlfriend, Patricia Kairis, were packing up their belongings from their rented home. Although Flor had told the landlord they were buying a home, the truth was that they were moving in with his grandmother, Zelda Boell.
According to Kairis, they'd started drinking early that day. Flor had seven or eight beers, and Kairis had four or five. On the way to Boell's home, he drank another quart of beer, and the more he drank, the angrier he became. He told Kairis "I think you will die today," and began putting together a list of an additional six people he intended to kill. Kairis' mother, Arlene Post, was on top of the list, for failing to seek custody of their daughter and thereby prevent her entering the foster care system. His own mother, Carolyn Nelson, was also on his list. Although he rarely got angry at his grandmother, he threatened to burn her home down. Kairis was worried enough to dial 911, but before she could talk to the dispatcher, he caught her. When he realized what she had done, they left. "We'll never get [our daughter] back if the cops come."
What happened next insured that Flor's prophecy was correct, at least as far as Flor is concerned.
An off-duty Pennsylvania State police trooper, Joseph Carcaci came across what he observed as an errant and aggressive driver. Carcaci called the Newtown Borough police, telling them that he also witnessed Flor visibly abusing his female passenger, by striking her on the face and pulling her by the hair as she tried to open the passenger side door.
Newtown Police Officer Brian Gregg was two hours into an eight hour shift when he responded to the call. Four minutes later, Carcaci and Gregg pulled the gold Beretta that Flor was driving over and arrested him for assault and driving under the influence.
Additional Newtown Township police officers came to the scene in order to help and Newtown Township Police Officer S. Vandermark gave Flor a portable breath test which showed he had a blood alcohol content of .17 percent, more than two times the legal driving limit of .08 percent.
Following established procedures, Gregg escorted Flor to the Newtown Borough police station. Officer James Warunek, an off-duty police officer was called in to help Gregg escort Flor to the hospital in order to get a blood and urine sample.
While obtaining the fluid samples, Flor's handcuffs were removed. Suddenly, Flor grabbed Warunek's gun, a .357 caliber five-shot revolver, which was resting in an unharnessed holster on Warunek's hip. Flor began firing, wounding Gregg and emergency room technician Joseph Epp. He then shot Warunek in the chest and walked over to Gregg who was laying on the floor wounded. According to witnesses, Flor cursed at Gregg and then fired a fatal shot to Gregg's head. Flor then walked back over to Warunek. "Die, you pig," Flor said, putting the gun against Warunek's head. He pulled the trigger, but the chamber was empty. He ran, but was found hiding in the hospital garage a short time later.
An autopsy showed Gregg had been shot three times. One of the bullets lodged in his bullet-proof vest. The shot to the head killed him. Gregg and Warunek were two days shy of their one year anniversary on the force.
In court documents, Flor insisted that he grabbed the gun in self-defense because Warunek went for it.The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty. Flor is charged with killing Gregg, and wounding Warunek and Epp. On Monday, the court will hear a change-of-venue request and other motions. Flor's trial is scheduled for April 17.
In an interview with police after the shooting, Flor's mother said he "deserves the death penalty. My son is a ticking time bomb. He will continue to be angry and will hurt more people." Mama knows best, as the saying goes. [1, 2]
Kate blogs at The Original Musings.
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posted by Kate at 12:04 AM
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