Monday, July 26, 2010

In Re Shippman (Cal. Ct. App. - June 8, 2010)

Robert Shippman is a regular guy. He "was raised on a chicken farm in central California by his mother and father with 10 older siblings. Petitioner‘s parents remained married, and provided well for their large family. His father worked as a rancher and then, upon his retirement, became a local pastor. Petitioner recalls a happy, stable childhood, with no issues of emotional or physical abuse, substance abuse, disciplinary problems or medical problems of any kind." Okay, so the chickens and the ten siblings are a little unusual, I admit. But otherwise totally normal.

Shippman graduates high high school and attends one year of college before meeting and marrying his first wife and leaving school to get a job. They have a daughter, but they get divorced. Why? Because, after seven years of marriage, Shippman's wife becomes pregnant by one of his best friends. Harsh.

So much for Wife I. Two years later, Shippman marries Wife II. They have a daughter (as well as a blended family) and are married for 22 years. Sweet.

But what happens? This time, Shippman -- who's now in his 50s -- has an affair. With twenty-something-old Juli. Who promptly becomes Wife III.

Shippman and Juli are married for two short years. What happens? Juli has affairs. Two of 'em. The second of which is with a local police officer and that prompts her to ask for a divorce.

Shippman is devastated, and desperately tries to get back together with Juli. But she's not interested. During one of their talks, when it becomes clear Juli's never coming back, Shippman takes out a rifle and shoots her three times -- twice in the chest and once in the head. He then does the same to himself. She dies. He lives.

Sex. It's a powerful thing. Not always in a good way.