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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Shades of Whitechapel » San Diego Arsenic Poisoning - Shades of Flo Maybrick « Previous Next »

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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 714
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 7:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Extradition Sought in Man's Death

San Diego prosecutors request the return of a Marine sergeant's wife arrested in Florida on suspicion of poisoning her husband.
By Tony Perry

Times Staff Writer

January 4, 2006

SAN DIEGO Prosecutors are seeking the extradition of a woman in Florida accused of poisoning her husband a Marine sergeant and then using his life insurance to pay for breast enhancement and a libertine lifestyle.

Cynthia Sommer, 32, moved to Florida from San Diego in 2002 with a new boyfriend, an ex-Marine, just weeks after an autopsy performed by a military pathologist found that her husband had died of a heart attack.

Further toxicology tests determined that Sgt. Todd Sommer, 23, had died of acute arsenic poisoning. The tests were ordered by the military and confirmed by civilian experts.

Todd Sommer was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar when he died Feb. 18, 2002, after complaining of nausea for several days.

His widow was arrested in Palm Beach County, Fla., in late November 2005, shortly after new tests and an additional investigation were completed.

"This is the coldest homicide I've had, in terms of being absolutely coldblooded," Deputy Dist. Atty. Laura Gunn said.

Sommer, being held in a West Palm Beach jail, is resisting the extradition attempt. A hearing is set for today.

San Diego prosecutors have filed for special circumstances murder by poisoning which could lead to the death penalty, if Sommer is convicted.

Court documents filed by prosecutors allege that Sommer was eager to get her husband's life insurance of more than $250,000 and the monthly survivor payments of nearly $1,900. The couple had a son and she had three other children from a previous marriage.

In an interview conducted by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents, Sommer said her husband had been nauseated and vomiting for a week before his death. Sommer's "close proximity to the victim allowed for the type of access required to facilitate acute arsenic poisoning," an investigator wrote.

Sommer's neighbor on the Miramar base told the investigators that after Todd Sommer's death, his wife threw a series of loud parties and showed the results of her breast augmentation, which had cost $5,400.

"Cindy's excuse for the lifestyle she started living after [her husband's death] was that he was very strict. He didn't like for her to go out partying [or] staying out with her friends," a family friend told investigators.

"Todd also didn't want her to get her breasts enlarged, so I think that she was living out the fantasy life that she really wanted," the friend said, according to court documents.

Sommer also paid to have her name listed on an Internet service that provides an "adult dating community focused on sexual discovery."

Court documents portray Sommer as a dissatisfied employee of a sandwich shop, heavily in debt and unhappy with having to care for four children. Before moving to San Diego, she was investigated by child welfare workers in North Carolina in 2001.

After her breast surgery, Sommer began a relationship with another Marine, Ross Ritter, who was later discharged from the Marine Corps. Sommer had her furniture shipped to his home in Florida at government expense, court records show.

The same day that she was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, Ritter was taken into custody on an unrelated drug charge.

There does not appear to be a connection between Ritter and Todd Sommer's death, and no further indictments are expected in the case, Gunn said.
Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
SirRobertAnderson@gmail.com
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Caroline Anne Morris
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Caz

Post Number: 2455
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 7:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Sir Robert,

Interesting case, but shades of Flo? I'm not so sure.

Further toxicology tests determined that Sgt. Todd Sommer, 23, had died of acute arsenic poisoning.

They never found anything like the sort of quantity of arsenic in Maybrick's body that would have been required to finish him off.

Sommer's "close proximity to the victim allowed for the type of access required to facilitate acute arsenic poisoning," an investigator wrote.

Sommer's neighbor on the Miramar base told the investigators that after Todd Sommer's death, his wife threw a series of loud parties and showed the results of her breast augmentation, which had cost $5,400.


In Flo's case, James had already been poisoning himself with arsenic for years, and being confined to his sick bed was unable to access his personal stash of it.

Since withdrawal symptoms can prove fatal for an arsenic addict, and since the post-mortem didn't find evidence of arsenic poisoning, the simple explanation is that he kicked the bucket within days of involuntarily kicking the habit.

And Florie was in no position to throw parties or flaunt her bosoms because she was already under suspicion before James popped his clogs, and was effectively under house arrest immediately afterwards, not regaining her freedom until Victoria popped hers.

The thing is, it was probably inevitable that James's habit would do for him sooner or later, with no help from Florie. But she would be for it regardless, on account of her indiscreet adultery - which she may have conducted in protest at Jim's.

It was a disaster waiting to happen, which Florie could only have avoided by leaving Battlecrease and her marriage for good, and leaving Jim to abuse himself and let the next poor cow take the consequences. Today, at least, she would have had more options to be judged blameless. Hypocrisy and convention conspired against her then, and blame was all she could expect, one way or t'other.

Love,

Caz
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