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Jan 29 09 8:36 PM

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Tina Rountree (left) Piper Rountree (on right) 
 
Tina Rountree "Piper and I are soul sisters. We’re incomplete without each other. We call each other two or three times a day. We’re very, very tight."
 
 "From Day One, I was always disappointed that she married Fred, because I always thought she would marry someone who was more successful. Someone who’s interesting. Someone who was funny. He was not." 
 
Piper Rountree "He also had a very quirky side to him, as I’ve been described as having myself. I think those two qualities between us meshed a lot." 
 
 
Although her husband Fred was supportive of her career Piper claims "We were not in love with each other, It was like being married to your best roommate.I was mostly an at-home mom. I was dedicated to the children doing everything that I could for the children. I cooked everything, I mean absolutely from scratch. I canned went berry-hunting. My neighbor referred to me as the Martha Stewart of motherhood.
 
Piper Rountree "He (Fred) was never really a be-around dad. He spent even more time with the university, and gave more of himself to the university. We had been in and out of counseling after we got to Richmond for a number of years.
 
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Shortly after they marry, Fred finds out Piper has been receiving counseling for emotional problems and family issues. 
 
Piper begins to handle the family finances in 1998 and amasses more than $50,000 in credit card debt over 4 years.
 
2000 - Piper begins an affair with an Opthalmologist (a married man). She makes repeated death threats against the doctor's wife and destroys his marriage.

2001 February  6 - Piper Rountree again alleges spousal abuse and obtains a warrant charging Jablin with domestic assault. Prof. Jablin successfully amends the protective order. He tells the court there is no evidence to support her charges and that Piper has been under psychiatric treatment, taking numerous medications and is "psychologically unstable." 
 
   Piper Rountree abuses prescription drugs and alcohol and has "significant  episodes of mental health problems. Piper also circulates false reports of spousal abuse against Fred Jablin.
 
 2001 Summer -  Piper's lover, the doctor, accompanies Piper and the children during summer activities, the bills footed by Fred Jablin.
 

2002 - July - After proceedings spanning 8 months - Divorce granted in favor of Fred Jablin on the grounds of adultery. 
 
          Custody proceedings - Fred Jablin petitions for sole custody on the grounds that Piper Rountree is mentally unstable. A history of depression, periods of agitated, distressful conduct, impulsive acts which include fleeing from the area, and threats to take the children away from the Richmond area, infidelity, abberational conduct (speaking to angels) and pleas of hopelessness.

 
Renowned Forensic Psychologist Dr. Leigh Hagan "Rountree had serious mental health issues making it likely that she would act selfishly, impulsively and dangerously in the future." 
 
Fred Jablin is awarded sole custody.
 
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 Piper Rountree "I kept saying you know, he needs to be a little more active in the family, just showing up at dinner time is not sufficient."
 
Detective Colby Kelly ""The people that we talked to in the community said that he was a great father, very much concerned about his children, making sure they got to activities, attending soccer games and the sort of thing."
 
Va. residents and neighbors Megan McCreary "He was very involved with his children. He was doing the same things that we do as Moms and Dads." 
 
     Michael Jablin (Fred's older brother)   "I’m very proud of my brother. He was my best friend. Fred, a leading academic, was ambitious, but his career took second place to his three children, especially after his divorce from Piper Rountree.

      "He was the acting dean at the University of Richmond for a temporary period. But he couldn’t run for full deanship because he had to dedicate his life and his times to his children, and that hurt him academically. He made that sacrifice because his kids came first."

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  Piper Rountree  (The divorce) "I didn't feel good. A lot of things in the system are very unfair. Fred also, to give him credit, he's very, very good at what he does. He teaches how to present testimony … he taught attorneys."  
 
"I would see them (the children) at least once a month (after the divorce) and talk to them every day, 
almost."

 
 Tina Rountree  "To see what the courts did was absolutely amazing. How can a man, if he loves his children, hurt the children that much? And as smart as he was, that he couldn't see that what he was doing was just really getting back at Piper. But he used the children. And how can you do that?" 

Tina Rountree, Nurse Practitioner, who ran a wellness clinic for women, involved herself in the divorce, drawing up a scorched-earth character analysis of Fred that portrayed him as an abusive narcissist who at one time had smoked marijuana with his students and wasn't fit to be a parent.
 

Tina Rountree
Piper Rountree (About Tina) "Yes, very close. She's wonderful. She' s one of the best healers I've ever known. 

Piper e-mailed that toxic document to Fred's colleagues, to their children's scout leaders, to members of the PTA.

 
 

Piper Rountree: (The divorce) "Extremely painful. I had been through every type of litigation in my life. You know big corporate litigation, split-up mergers, child custody. I've been through trials you know, just heartbreaking trials nothing, nothing have I ever read about in stories could have come close to what went on in this divorce.
 
Piper Rountree may have been behind on child support payments, but she was putting her life in order. A friend (a lawyer) rented her office space for her legal practice. She gained a boyfriend who helped her begin to get back on her feet financially. Piper stated "she and Fred had settled into a "civil" routine.

 
Piper Rountree "I was mom on the phone every single day helping them through  homework, helping them resolved fights. You know, "Can I go over to somebody's house?" They would call me, especially my son, we had call, talked to each other almost every night just to hear each other breathe on the phone."
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Detective Colby "Piper told us that she in fact, was in Galveston on Friday. Recalled making a phone call and talking to her son and so that clearly put that telephone call in her hands speaking with her son. And we had known that this cell phone was hitting off of towers in the Richmond area.  So, we knew that part of her story was not true."
 
Prosecutor "Fred and Piper Rountree's own son, 12, submits written testimony about a phone call the  day before the murder of his father. He would testify that when he received the phone call, the caller ID indicated on his cell phone was 'Mom’s cell.' And when he answered the phone, he recognized the voice of that of his mother, the defendant." 

 

Piper Rountree "My son and his friend could have confused Tina's (her sister) voice for mine. "People constantly confused my and Tina's voices, they sounded so much alike,"  
 
Juror "What really solidified it was when her kids, you know, recognized like her voice and they documented that when she spoke to her kids she was here."

 

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Piper Rountree " I was shocked by Fred's murder. "It was very sad. He's the children's father. The children need two parents. They need a mother; they need a father."
 
Piper Rountree: I didn't know what was going on, what was going on... they wouldn't let me even talk to the children. And I was really concerned because they took the children into police custody."
Detective Colby Kelly "On a flight out of Norfolk, VA, one passenger’s name jumped out at police. "We don’t have a Piper Rountree, but we’ve got a Tina Rountree on this flight. She was listed as the passenger on that flight leaving Virginia the afternoon of the murder, but Tina Rountree says she was at work that day in her health clinic."

Ten days after the killing, police arrested Rountree for the murder of  Fred Jablin. 

 Piper Rountree (decides against her lawyer's wishes to testify in front of the jury.) "I’m fighting for my life. I’m fighting for the fundamental values that I have. I believe in truth and honesty. I believe in God. I believe in motherhood and my children." 
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Piper Rountree, wearing a wig and using her sister’s ID flew to Virginia to shoot her ex-husband Fred Jablin as he walked out to get the morning paper, a daily routine she knew well.
 
Neighbor Ed Kelly "He was a very methodical man. You could almost predict the time that he would come out and pick his paper up, which was approximately at 6:30 a.m."
 

Prosecutor Wade Kizer  "She’d lost custody of her kids and was devastated. She was bankrupt, Rountree had a powerful motive to kill. This is the answer. Get rid of Fred. Get the kids back. Don’t have to pay child support. The kids are with me."

 
Murray Janus (Rountree's lawyer) "police and prosecutors are making a mistake. The wrong sister is on trial. I think you’ll hear evidence that Tina had certainly at one time a gun herself, a .38  caliber." 

 
Piper Rountree's cell phone - Towers in the Richmond area picked up its signal the weekend of the murder. Records show one call, to Fred’s house, was to someone Rountree knew very well. Her son.  Murphy: On Friday, she calls her son and says, Hi, how's everything going? I'm in Galveston (Texas). And the cell phone record shows she's where?  Kizer: Here in Henrico county. (VA)


 
 

Piper Rountree (The jury) "They need to know something about me, something about how I think. What I do. Why I wouldn't do these things."
 
 When Piper is asked if she would do anything for her children, Rountree says, "I wouldn’t kill for them, no."
 
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Kathy Mollie (Southwest Airlines ticket counter agent)  "Rountree declared an unloaded gun at the time of check in. She appeared nervous and "it seemed that there was something on her mind, that she was very much in a hurry," almost as if she was "trying to distract" me." Mollie identified Piper Rountree as the woman who bought that plane ticket two days before the murder as Tina Rountree and she used someone else’s credit card. She was also allowed to check a .38 in her luggage.  Kathy Mollie involved Allan Fenestrate, a baggage screener who works for the Transportation Safety Authority (Houston). "She was a bit nervous and fidgety" about the gun. She claimed it belonged to her father."   **(Pre-911 certain guns could be checked)
 
Richmond, Virginia Front Desk Clerk at a motel was certain it was Piper who paid cash and asked if she could register under another name.
 
Eleanor Ceballos works for the wig company and testified that Piper Routnree wanted them (two wigs) fast. " Rush. Overnight, if possible."

 
Six hours after the murder, as requested by investigators, phone service techs were tracking that cell as it pinged off various towers. Piper Rountree told people she'd been in Texas that weekend when Fred had been murdered but her cell phone showed that to be a lie.
 
Jerry Walters's card had purchased the plane ticket, wigs, gas and cash the weekend of the murder. "I don't think anyone on the face of the Earth was more shocked than myself to find out my card was in Richmond, Va. I did not have a clue." "He and Piper Rountree had been dating for about a year prior to Jablin's murder. "I  gave Rountree the credit card, but I knew, absolutely nothing of this…I didn’t even know what her plans were for the weekend." 
 
 
     
Although the gun was never found, Detective Colby Kelly learned Piper Rountree had gone to a Houston, Texas shooting range four days before the murder, and practiced shooting a .38-caliber revolver. Fred Jablin was killed with a .38-caliber bullet. Mac McClennahan (friend who accompanied Piper to the shooting range) Piper asked him not to mention their trip to the police. "She said please don't say anything about the gun range. It'll just complicate things.
 

Piper Rountree "As far as taking target practice, that's just Texas-style recreation that wouldn't be understood by anyone but a Texan and that's why I asked my friend not to mention it to detectives.
I immediately realized that they would look at this as being very suspicious. And, what is normal for Texans... anyway, it just didn't look good."


 
"Parking lot records show Rountree’s car was parked for three days at a Houston airport the weekend of the murder. 
 
Piper Rountree "I was at a bar in Houston on Friday night (the night before the murder).
 
Tina Rountree  "It's very scary and it's not fair. It's so unfair." (Regarding Piper being charged with the murder of Fred Jablin.)

 
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The same afternoon a memorial service for Fredric Jablin is held at the University of Richmond, Piper Rountree is arrested for the murder.
 
Tina Rountree, (whom Piper had impersonated), is charged with evidence tampering. She helped destroy the blond wig and makeup, papers and electronic (computers) evidence after Piper shot Fred Jablin. "The evidence only points to her helping after the fact. We could not prove she was involved in the planning stage."
 
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 Betty Rountree (Piper & Tina's mother) "I can’t believe Piper is a killer. "Do I think she’s guilty? No I do not. She’s had so much love in her life and she’s such a gentle kind person, I honestly cannot believe that
she did this."

 
(At sentencing Betty Rountree pleads for leniency for her daughter Piper, "so the children who have already lost their father won’t lose their mother, too."  "Her whole life was just with those children…taking them different places…reading to them." 
 
(Piper Rountree is in denial about any future she might have with her children.)
Piper Rountree "I just love them and miss them and want to talk to them." 
 

Interviewer "You still are saying that you didn't kill your ex-husband?" 
Piper Rountree "I didn't. I didn't. I know it looked like it. I mean, obviously, it looked like it. I didn't." 
 "I did not kill Fred Jablin. That's not what a good parent does.It's not what a mother does. No mother would do that." 

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Michael Jablin (Fred Jablin's brother) "How do you explain to young children that their mother killed their father? They’ve lost both parents now. How do I explain that to these children? Having this over us was like a storm cloud. But we know where Piper will be, hopefully for the rest of her life. I thought possibly she might show some remorse, but obviously, she has no remorse for this, and that's sad." 

 
Judge Harris
"In this particular case, the evidence certainly shows that it was willful, deliberate and premeditated. You had a detailed plan to carry out the end result." "You show "absolutely no remorse" about killing Fred Jablin. There's no way that these children will ever totally recover from that. I think when you look at everything, the jury did the right thing." 
 

2005 - May 6 - Piper Rountree is sentenced  - Life in prison plus 3 years for use of a firearm in a crime. She will be eligible for parole after 15 years, in 2020. She will be aged 60.

Murray Janus (Piper Rountree's attorney) "I don't think she will be granted release."
 
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APPEALS
 


Judges hear Rountree appeal: Her lawyers challenge witnesses' reliability in Henrico murder trial.
Publication: Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA)Publication Date: 02-APR-

Findlaw: Piper Rountree 2007 vs VA
 
0155062 Piper Ann Rountree v. Commonwealth 07/24/2007  Trial court did not abuse its discretion denying appellant's motion to suppress the out-of-court identifications of the seven witnesses; trial court did not err in admitting the witnesses in-court identifications; appellant's convictions are affirmed
CERTIORARI DENIED 07-11181 ROUNTREE, PIPER A. V. VIRGINIA

Order List: (Monday, October 6, 2008)
Appeal of California, Second Appellate District for further ...... ROUNTREE, PIPER A. V. VIRGINIA. 07-11182 . http://www.supremecourtus.gov/orders/courtorders/100608zor.pdf 

 
Piper Rountree Videos
CBS Video Fred Jablin