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Records describe a rampage that took lawyer's life

By AMY HERDY

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 2, 2000


TAMPA -- Hiding in her bedroom closet, Connie Freeman heard gunshot after gunshot. She heard her husband Grover cry out in pain. Then the intruder turned the corner of the closet and lunged for her.

Freeman recognized her assailant at once: Kathy Freeman, Grover's ex-wife.

"You're next, b----!" Kathy Freeman said.

Documents made public Tuesday by the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office detail Connie Freeman's frantic fight to save her life on the night of her husband's murder at their Carrollwood home May 15.

Connie Freeman told detectives that Kathy Freeman whipped her with her pistol, which had jammed, and dragged her by the hair to the balcony of the two-story house. As Kathy Freeman tried to throw her off the balcony, Connie Freeman clawed at her throat and eyes and managed to break free.

The documents released Tuesday present a picture of Kathy Freeman as a bitter ex-wife struggling financially. She owed $75,000 to credit card companies.

Howard Hunter, Grover Freeman's law partner, told the St. Petersburg Times that Kathy Freeman still held a $350,000 life insurance policy on her ex-husband.

The couple divorced in 1996, and Grover Freeman married Connie Freeman six months later.

Kathy Freeman's alimony payments from her 10-year marriage to Grover Freeman had recently ceased, and her only steady income, Hunter said, was the child support of $1,450 a month that Grover Freeman paid for the couple's teenage daughter.

"I think she was in financial straits, and that she committed premeditated murder for the purposes of curing her financial problems," Hunter said. "It was carefully planned. The only thing that went wrong was that Connie lived."

Kathy Freeman, 41, remains in Hillsborough County jail without bail, charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and armed burglary.

Investigators say Kathy Freeman shot to death her 54-year-old ex-husband, a medical malpractice attorney, then tried to kill his 50-year-old wife in the couple's lakefront home at 3113 Mossvale Lane.

Hours later, sheriff's deputies said, Kathy Freeman drove her 1999 Cadillac to the Sunshine Skyway bridge and leaped from the center span. Incredibly, she survived the 200-foot fall.

The documents disclose that investigators recovered a Taurus 9mm handgun and two magazines from the scene of Grover Freeman's killing. Investigators say Kathy Freeman bought the gun two weeks before the murder from a man in Duluth, Ga., for $500 cash.

On May 15, she left her home at 2815 Linthicum Place, with her stepmother, a friend's daughter and her daughter sleeping inside.

Wearing shorts, a white polo shirt, a gold Rolex watch and diamond earings, she drove to Grover Freeman's nearby home, used a key to let herself into the sun room, and shot her ex-husband 16 times in the chest, arm and legs before a bullet jammed the gun's slide, police said.

After breaking free from her assailant, Kathy Freeman ran to the home of a nearby neighbor, who called 9l1.

Moments before he died, Grover Freeman also called 911.

"Help . . . shot . . . ex-wife," he said.

- Times Staff Writer Amy Herdy can be reached at (813) 226-3474 or herdy@sptimes.com.

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