(AK) three brothers murdered by their own mother


March 17, 2004, 02:47 PM

A 42-year-old mother was arrested Tuesday after her three sons were shot to death in their home off Huffman Road, Anchorage police said.

Cynthia J. Lord was charged Tuesday evening with three counts of first-degree murder. Police said Lord called them around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and said she had killed her sons.

Officers found Christopher Woods, 19, Michael Woods, 18, and Joseph Woods, 16, dead inside the family's apartment at 12521 Silver Fox Lane, No. 6. Lord was immediately taken into custody.

The triple slaying shocked neighbors at the small apartment complex, where neighbors knew the three brothers intimately. Grown men wept alongside elementary school kids as a crowd gathered outside the eight-unit building Tuesday night. Parents struggled to find the words to explain to their children what had happened.

Police declined to speculate on a motive or detail other circumstances of the deaths.

The Woodses lived in one of two eight-unit buildings behind the Huffman Road McDonald's. The apartments are full of children, and the Woods brothers played basketball, hockey and baseball with the younger kids all the time, neighbors said. In the summer, they made a miniature golf course on the lawn. Several neighbors said that just the night before, the brothers were shooting hoops in the street.

Troy Nelson said the brothers and their mom had lived in the complex for at least five years. Inside a neighboring apartment, just having heard that they were gone, he wiped tears from his eyes and looked down at his kindergarten-age daughter, Brianna, who also was crying.

Nelson said the three brothers watched over the smaller kids in the neighborhood.

"Those were the best kids in the world," he said. "They were just awesome."

"They always play football with me, sledding, all the games," Brianna said.

Mary Kate Bodley, who routinely had the brothers over for suppers and picnics -- they were friends with her grandsons -- watched from her apartment balcony as police guarded the Woodses' door and the crime scene team pulled up.

Inside her apartment, Bodley's grandson peeked out a window, tears streaming down his face, his eyes puffy from crying. The boy was worried he didn't have anything to remember his friends by, his grandmother said.

"This is so heartbreaking," Bodley said, breaking into sobs. "It just shouldn't have happened! It shouldn't have happened!" She wiped her eyes with her hand. "We wanted to protect them," she said. "But how do you protect somebody from their mother?"

Several neighbors said Lord sometimes appeared unstable. Bodley said Lord would sometimes accuse her grown son of being an FBI agent out to get her.

Police said Tuesday that they were trying to contact the brothers' father, who they believe lived on the East Coast.

Nelson said his only bad interaction with Lord was one night about five months ago when the three brothers came to him and asked him to call police because their mother was screaming and they were frightened. Nelson said he tried to calm Lord, but that only made her more upset.

"She came at me with a cane," he said. Police responded, Nelson said. Lord was taken away and returned about a day later, he said.

Heath Jackson, who has managed the apartment complex for about two years, said there have been complaints about Lord swearing and yelling but no complaints about her sons. They would do whatever you told them, he said. If they made a mess, they would clean it up. They clearly had a hard time at home sometimes, Jackson said. "They've broken down and cried talking to my wife."

A few months ago, police were called to Lord's apartment over an incident in which she hit one of her sons with a golf club, according to neighbor Homer Cole, 42, who said he witnessed the incident from his apartment across the parking lot.

When police took her away, the brothers asked them not to hurt or restrain her, neighbors said. The brothers loved their mother fiercely and were protective of her, neighbors said.

"They were such good kids and they had every excuse not to be," said Bodley's sister, Nancy Newell, who was visiting relatives at the apartment building.

The golf club incident seemed to be isolated, Cole said. After it happened, Lord wrote a long letter to her neighbors talking about her internal demons, several said. The brothers told neighbors she suffered from mental illness and had stopped taking her medication, Cole said.

By early Tuesday evening, teenage friends from Service High, where two of the brothers went to school, started gathering in the parking lot between the two eight-plexes. They huddled in the growing darkness and cold and said all three Woods brothers were regular kids who liked going to the mall and the movies and who would help out whenever needed, such as if someone was moving.

Nick Hankins, 19 and a Service senior, said he spent much of his free time with the Woods brothers and had taken the youngest, Joseph, home from school on Tuesday, dropping him off around 2:20 p.m. Nothing seemed out of order. Michael, the middle brother, was home sick, and the oldest, Christopher, wasn't in school anymore, Hankins said.

"They were like my brothers. My mom's in tears right now," Hankins said. The brothers always seemed happy, he said. "Every day was just a good time."

"It's heartbreaking. It's a situation that slipped through the system," Bodley said.

Her grandson, Brandon Bodley, 10, could barely talk he was so upset. "I really liked Chris," he said. He remembers Chris treating the younger kids for ice cream at McDonald's after a pickup basketball game. A police chaplain came Tuesday evening to comfort the friends.

"Why did it have to be them?" asked Corey Bodley, 8.

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March 17, 2004, 02:53 PM
Whew. No words to describe such a thing. :mad:

TFL Survivor

Kodiak AK
March 17, 2004, 03:05 PM
This is why I wish Alaska had the death penalty. :(

March 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
We'd have to pony up some big bucks to get the death penalty in place and operating. At current budget levels neither the DA's or PD's are up to the task.

On the plus side, she will spend the rest of her days looking at some of the most beutiful scenery in the world over in Seward. The inmates I've heard from tell me it's real torture to know you'll never again actually set foot out there.

Kodiak AK
March 17, 2004, 04:17 PM
It is my understanding most hard timers end up serving down in Arizona .

Black Majik
March 17, 2004, 04:23 PM
Remember that capital punishment thread posted by twoblink?

This is the time to use it. To the full extent. :mad:

March 17, 2004, 08:35 PM
Tragic loss....sounds like the authorities had plenty of warning, but somehow didnt piece it together...........
Another case of the darkside of humanity, but guns will be blamed !

March 17, 2004, 11:09 PM
Even if the kids (who seemed very responsible and just all-around good kids) slept with guns near the bed, there's no way to win with this one. If your Mother came into your room while you were sleeping, you wouldn't expect a thing, and that fact is probably what killed them.

Imagine for a minute that you're sleeping (or whatever). Your parent walks in with a gun. Even at this point I wouldn't suspect anything. Then she starts shooting, and it's probably too late.

Additionally, even if you were alarmed by your parent coming into your room with a gun, how many people could shoot their parents? I'm not saying I couldn't if they were trying to kill me, but that would be a sickening situation that I'm sure would weigh heavily on your mind.

Very troubling. :(


March 17, 2004, 11:52 PM
While Im sure she is legally sane, (or at least I assume that she is) she is evidently somewhat, shall we say, disturbed.

Doubtful a jury of Alaskans would give her death even if we had it.

Further doubtful that there are even enough aggravating circumstances.


Kodiak AK
March 17, 2004, 11:58 PM

Ever heard the name Menedez?

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