Sheriff's Office Investigating Possible Motive For Shootings

1:02 AM, Nov 22, 2011   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Greensboro, NC -- We are learning more about events that happened before a string of shootings.

The Guilford County Sheriff's Office said Mary Ann Holder shot six people and turned the gun on herself Sunday.  Her 17-year-old son, Dylan Smith died at the scene.  8-year-old Hannaleigh Suttles died on Monday.  3 other victims are in critical condition.

PHOTOS: Images From The Scenes

Her sixth victim was Randal Lamb, who survived the shooting. The Sheriff's Office said Lamb and Holder had an affair in the past.

The Sheriff's Office said Lamb's wife contacted an attorney to start the process of an alienation of affection lawsuit. However, that was never filed and it never went to court. Rather, the Sheriff's Office said the Lambs and Holder reached an "out of court settlement" the day before the shooting. They would not elaborate but said they are investigating all of this as a possible motive.

Family law attorney Carolyn Woodruff said, "An alienation of affection essentially is someone has rear-ended a marriage and caused the marriage to break up like you might cause a crunch in a car and if there's damages related to that, that's recoverable."

Woodruff, who said she has handled dozens of alienation of affection cases, explained it as when an individual third party interferes with a marriage and causes damage. Many times it involves cheating spouses and marriages that break up. The "innocent" spouse can sue the person with whom their spouse cheated.

You can only sue for money in an alienation of affection case. Woodruff said $30 million was awarded in one case.

"The family lawyers as a group have had many united fronts to try to get rid of it. The family oriented political groups want it because they believe that it preserves marriage," said Woodruff.

North Carolina is one of seven states that has alienation of affection, she explained.

"I think that people are deterred by it and I think that they're very careful not to come into North Carolina sometimes if they're aware of it," added Woodruff.

News 2 also talked with Dr. Michael Clark with the Guilford Center for Behavior Health and Disability Services about spotting warning signs someone may show before having a nervous breakdown. Watch his interview in the the video player in this story.

Most Watched Videos