- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 11, 2009

MIDDLETOWN, Md. | After killing his wife and three children, and before taking his own life with a shotgun, Christopher Wood placed loving, apologetic notes on or near the bodies, according to police records obtained by the Associated Press.

“I think we both know we never should have gotten married,” Wood said in a handwritten note to his wife, Francie Billotti-Wood. Nevertheless, he wrote, “that does not change that fact that I love you dearly.”

In a note to his parents and sister that also was found in the family’s rented home in April, the 34-year-old man wrote that he would probably go to hell for what he did.

“I have asked for forgiveness on the sins I have just committed. Hope it works,” Wood wrote.

He included a quote he attributed to comedian Chris Rock: “Life is long especially if you make the wrong choices.”

Police records suggest that Mrs. Billotti-Wood, 33, was considering leaving her mentally ill husband, and that her heavy spending had contributed to the family’s $450,000 debt.

The AP obtained the 48-page investigative report from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Thursday through a Public Information Act request.

Investigators concluded that Wood, a sales and marketing manager for Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX Corp., killed his wife; sons Chandler, 5, and Gavin, 4; and 2-year-old daughter Fiona with a .25-caliber handgun in their bedrooms on the night of April 16 or the morning of April 17. He then spent more than 12 hours typing a suicide note, doing yard work, feeding the dog and visiting a Subway sandwich shop before decapitating them, putting a shotgun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.

His body was found on the floor of the home’s master bedroom in Middletown, about 50 miles west of Baltimore.

The contents of the typed suicide note were either redacted from the document given to AP or not included in Detective Joseph M. Rowe’s report. Sheriff Charles A. Jenkins has refused to release copies of any of the notes found in the house.

Detective Rowe wrote that police learned from Wood’s parents and sister, and from his suicide note, that he had suffered from mental illness since his teens. An autopsy found seven drugs, including antidepressants and an anxiety drug in his body.

The handwritten notes found with the children’s bodies express fondness and regret. “I love you dearly and I am sorry I did not have a chance to see you grow into a woman,” Wood wrote to his daughter. He signed each child’s note, “Always and forever, your daddy.”

The family had moved in August from Jacksonville, where they owned a house they were trying to sell.

Mrs. Billotti-Wood’s in-laws told police that Wood had taken out a second and third mortgage on the Florida home to pay off his wife’s credit card debts, which they said exceeded $300,000. Her father told police that Francie “liked to spend money.”

Mrs. Billotti-Wood had grown up in the Middletown area. Several acquaintances told police she seemed happy and in love with her husband. But in an April 4 Facebook message to a childhood friend that was included in the police report, Mrs. Billotti-Wood wrote, “We were having problems in Florida and I think we both thought a change of venue would improve our situation and it really hasn’t. He hates it here. And I am not leaving just to be miserable someplace else.”

In the same message, Mrs. Billotti-Wood asked her friend, a paralegal, “How long do you have to live separate to get a divorce?”

Another longtime friend told police that Mrs. Billotti-Wood had asked him a month or so before the deaths whether he had any vacant apartments.

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