More than two dozen women marched in White Plains Monday to deplore last week’s Lewisboro murders as well as some of the subsequent news coverage.
The women—principally staffers and volunteers from two domestic-violence agencies, Hope’s Door and My Sister’s Place—stood beneath a statue of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from noon to about 1 p.m. outside the Westchester County Courthouse. They quietly held signs decrying suggestions that Amy Friedlander had somehow provoked her estranged husband, Samuel, and then taking his own life sometime late last Monday or early Tuesday.
A brisk 10-mph breeze fluttered signs insisting, among other things, “Amy Friedlander Did Not Cause Her Own Murder” and “Domestic Violence Is Never Justified,” while temperatures in the 60s kept demonstrators and spectators chilled.
CarlLa Horton, executive director of the Pleasantville-based Hope’s Door, dismissed speculation—widespread last week in the wake of the senseless slaughter—that Samuel Friedlander had buckled under the pressure of his impending divorce and unyielding financial reversals. Friends of the accused killer had reinforced that speculation with unsupported assertions that Amy Friedlander berated and emasculated her estranged husband, who was still living at their 2 Lambert Ridge home in Cross River.
“This was not a man who snapped,” Horton told a hastily assembled press conference. “he used to destroy Molly and Gregory.” State police investigators say Friedlander murdered his children as they slept with single blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun. He also beat to death his wife with a broken piece of furniture, they said, before killing himself with the shotgun.
“This is not domestic violence,” Horton said. “This is mass murder.”
Referring to suggestions that Amy Friedlander was complicit in her own murder, Horton said, “I think the media can certainly do a better job of interpreting domestic violence.”
Amy Siniscalchi, director of programs at White Plains-based My Sister’s Place, said, “We are calling on the media to report on it responsibly.” She carried a sign that declared, “Amy Friedlander Did Not Cause Her Own Murder!”
Horton, broadening her message of warning, said, “There isn’t a community in Westchester that’s immune to this [kind of violence].”
Listening to Horton, standing in the shadow of the towering Daronco Courthouse, Donna Walsh of Katonah plaintively called out, “Where are the Family Court judges? Where are the matrimonial lawyers?”