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Murder-Suicide of Son, Ex-Wife on Election Eve Stuns Candidate

November 05, 1986|United Press International

MIAMI — The Democratic candidate for Florida attorney general, stunned by the apparent murder-suicide of his son and ex-wife, secluded himself Tuesday while voters chose between him and his Republican challenger.

Bob Butterworth was "in shock" after being informed Monday night that his former wife had shot their only child to death and committed suicide, said Ron Villella, Butterworth's campaign manager.

"Bob and his wife, Marta, have suffered an enormous loss and are in seclusion with other family members," Villella said. "In view of what has occurred, the campaign's postelection activities have been canceled. We are sure all Floridians will understand."

Favored in Race

Butterworth, heavily favored over GOP state Rep. Jim Watt in the election, was informed of the deaths of his son, Bobby Butterworth Jr., 16, and his former wife, Saundra, 43, when he returned from an election-eve rally.

"It appears to be a murder-suicide," police spokesman Juan Santos said.

Police, responding to a call from a "hysterical" woman, said they found the body of the youth in his mother's 1982 Datsun, parked at a curb, and the body of Mrs. Butterworth beside a telephone booth.

Bobby Butterworth had been shot three times in the chest and once in the neck and his mother once in the head. A .38-caliber gun was found beside Mrs. Butterworth, police said.

Picked Up Son at School

"She evidently picked him up from school, which was a routine event, and she drove to Miami, where she stopped, made the call, shot her son and then shot herself," police spokeswoman Cori Zywotow said.

Saundra Butterworth, divorced from Butterworth 10 years ago, left a note in the car "that implied she was very disturbed and that she may have been thinking about doing this," Zywotow said.

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