BRENTWOOD, N.H. — A New Hampshire man, 38-year-old Christopher Smeltzer, claimed to returned home on Nov. 7, 2010 to find his 4-year-old son, Mason, strangled by the boy’s mother and a 7-year-old daughter, Mercey, unconscious. He has pleaded guilty to killing his wife as she tried to commit suicide. He was charged with second degree murder in the beating death of his wife, Mara Pappalardo, who had been hospitalized for paranoia.
Smeltzer told police he “lost his marbles” and attacked Pappalardo with a flashlight. She had a rope around her neck, preparing to commit suicide. Pappalardo reportedly feared that Smeltzer and her mother-in-law wanted to take the children away from her.
Smeltzer, believing that both of his children were dead, then tried to kill himself by taking all the pills he could find in the house. But in the morning, his daughter who’d had a ribbon tied around her neck, woke him up and he called 911, according to the newspaper.
The untold story here is that the husband had been a drug addict, and the wife had likely been a victim of abuse. He had probably threatened to take the children away and likely threatened to kill her as well. This would explain her “paranoia.” Often abuse victims are misdiagnosed with mental problems. Mercy, the seven year old recorded a message that was heard at the trial saying, “I am mad and sad that my Daddy killed my Mommy and brother Mason. If my daddy gets out, how will I keep safe? Please keep him in jail for the rest of his life.”
Mercey’s statement contradicts what she said in the days after the attacks and to her counselor, but it is quite normal for a child to change their statement when they begin to feel safe after abuse had occurred. Smeltzer himself said he left his “delusional wife” to do cocaine and smoke crack with his friends before coming home.
The mother likely felt she had no option other than to kill herself and her children, as bad as that is, if she did in fact try to kill them. Victims of abuse often feel there’s no way out but suicide. If she was the perpetrator, she was certainly wrong for killing her children , but the actions of the husband would still not be justified by this. He got off easy for this horrible crime. My question is what did this woman go through before this day that may have made her feel she had no option but this? But more than likely she and her children were victims of prior abuse and were likely killed by her husband.
- NH man gets 15 to 30 years for killing wife (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Dad Gets Up to 30 Years for Killing Kid-Strangler Wife (foxnews.com)