Family Injustice: Trapped In Williamson County
They have two daughters fighting custody battles in Georgetown. Meet the grandparents who say they’ve had enough of creepy lawyers, local politics and an ethically challenged judge.
They called him Leatherface, the crazy cannibal who sliced and diced his way through the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Did you know where all this criminal mayhem was filmed? Williamson County, Texas: A place famous for another kind of criminal injustice too.
Michael Morton spent 25 long years in prison for killing his wife. One big problem: he was innocent. Williamson County prosecutors hid critical evidence that could have proven it. It is another tale of injustice that now brings Dolcefino Consulting to the halls of the Williamson County Justice Center.
Sherry and Tommy Murray have had enough.
“It’s time for this to stop. I can’t take it,” Tommy Murray said. “My wife and I, we’re going through hell.”
“It’s exhausting, it’s emotionally and physically exhausting,” Sherry Murray said.
If you’ve been trapped in a family court nightmare, you’ll understand their frustration.
“There’s no justice,” said Mr. Murray. “I have begged and pleaded for help for my family because of the turmoil that they’re going through.”
“These are grandparents who have watched both of their daughters get trapped in nasty and expensive custody battles,” Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, said, “Battles tainted by politics and money, a judge with a conflict of interest and even creepy lawyers. So, buckle your seatbelts.”
“Money and power can corrupt someone else’s world and they’ve proven that,” Amber Weisbrod, the elder daughter of Sherry and Tommy Murray, said.
Amber and Bobby Weisbrod had two kids. Their marriage ended after five short years and it wasn’t pretty. Bobby got remarried and sometimes that complicates an already nasty custody fight. She threatened to use her family money to ruin Amber Weisbrod’s life. Bobby’s new wife does have money and you know who her daddy is? He was the Mayor of Georgetown, Tim Kennedy, and he used money to threaten the scales of family justice too.
“Guess what I’m going to get involved in it, so I just think, giving you a message, go ahead and get your lawyer and get you a bunch of money together because we do have that on our side,” Tim Kennedy said in a voicemail to Amber Weisbrod.
“No doubt that the former mayor’s political connections affected your case?” Dolcefino said in an interview with Weisbrod.
“Yes,” Weisbrod said.
“No doubt?” Dolcefino said.
“No doubt. No doubt,” Weisbrod said
The Williamson County Justice Center is in Georgetown, and on the bench in County Court at Law #3 is Doug Arnold. Arnold was an assistant DA who fought to keep evidence secret that cheated Michael Morton out of 25 years of his life. His boss even ended up in jail, but Arnold now has a black robe. But has he learned the lesson about fairness?
“Anyone who’s been in a custody fight knows there are usually battles about at least three things, education, health care and where the kids are going to spend most of their time,” Dolcefino said. “Lawyers have a phrase for it, it’s called eds, meds and heads.”
Amber wanted the two kids in regular public schools. Her ex-husband and his new bride Haley wanted the kids at a charter school called Meridian. When she’s not cussing at Amber, Haley is a special ed teacher there. The school’s video even has a picture of her.
Meridian’s website also identifies donors to the school, and if you look, you’ll see the Arnold family. Turned out the Judge’s kids went to Meridian too.
So Amber spent $2,500 more in her custody fight to hire a new lawyer to get Judge Arnold recused from her case. The Judge stepped down a day later. Yet six months after that Judge Arnold was back in the same case signing a court order making Amber pay her husband’s lawyer $3,600 more. But wait a minute. Amber had questioned his fairness before. Retaliation anyone?
“I stood up and said this is illegal. You can’t put yourself back on the case,” Mrs. Murray said. “And he proceeded to tell his court, court person, bailiff, whatever, to remove me from the courtroom. And I told him don’t bother. I’m leaving anyway.”
Sherry Murray left the court that day, but not the fight to expose Williamson County family injustice.
“Why do I do it? Because I love my children and my grandchildren, and they’re being hurt,” Mrs. Murray said.
“If you think lawyers already have a, well a bad reputation already, just wait until you hear how some of the lawyers in these cases have acted,” Dolcefino said.
“There’s no lines that these people will not cross,” said Amanda Murray McCarty.
In Amanda’s case, while she was still married, text messages show her husband’s divorce lawyer was sharing much more than legal advice.
“You left something here. I washed,” the attorney for Matt McCarty wrote.
You know what he left behind? Wait for it. His underwear.
“I don’t understand how that can even be ethical,” McCarty said.
Amber’s lawyer Dario Bargas, the one hired to fight for Amber’s right to decide where her kids went to school, withdrew from her case after just seven days on the job. And he did it on the very same day of the court hearing she had hired him to go to. His texts while getting ready for the hearing are kind of creepy too.
“You wore me out. We should have napped together.”
Really? Bargas told us he doesn’t even recall his client, doesn’t remember those curious texts he sent before he quit.
“You think it’s because you didn’t want to date him?” Dolcefino said.
“I think it’s because it was a setup,” Weisbrod said.
“He made the money, walked out, and on his way out of the courtroom, he looked over at Tim Kennedy,” Mr. Murray said.
Tim Kennedy, the former Mayor and daddy to the new wife. The money guy.
“That’s when I almost lost it. My wife had to grab my arm because I was about to get up and go out in the hallway and do something I would have been really sorry for,” said Mr. Murray.
Tommy and Sherry Murray want other folks in Williamson county to join the fight for a little fairness.
“I don’t want any other children or grandchildren to have to deal with the crap, and that’s all I can say, and I could use a few other adjectives,” said Mrs. Murray.