Samantha says a few months after her husband, Adam, returned home from serving in Iraq, he lost his job and became filled with rage during their fights, even threatening to shoot both of them. One night, after an argument, she says he shot her in both legs with an AK-47 and left her bleeding for nearly an hour before turning himself in, allowing her to receive medical attention. After a month in the hospital, five surgeries and several skin grafts, Samantha shares her story with Dr. Phil. Adam is currently behind bars, awaiting trial on aggravated assault charges — but Samantha says the charge should be attempted murder. And, hear from Adam’s sister, Diane, who says she believes her brother is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. What does Dr. Phil think? Then, Laurie says while divorcing her husband, Andre, in 2010, he did the unthinkable: He shot and killed their 4- and 5-year-old sons, and then turned the gun on himself. Andre survived and is currently on death row. Laurie shares her heartbreaking story. How can she find peace after such a horrible tragedy? This episode contains graphic medical images. Viewer discretion advised.
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A Cautionary Tale
Samantha says when her husband, Adam, returned home from serving in Iraq, he was a changed man — and one night, during a fight, she says he shot her twice with an AK-47, nearly killing her and destroying her legs.
“I have never been more terrified.”
Samantha shares what her life is like now.
Samantha spent a month in the hospital and has endured five surgeries and several skin grafts. She tells Dr. Phil that her recovery has been challenging, and it may be a year before she can walk on her own again.
Dr. Phil reviews possible warning signs that Samantha may have missed.
Dr. Phil asks about Samantha's claim that after Adam shot her, he didn’t want her to call 911 and told her she was selfish.
“He was upset that he’d never get to see his kids again if he went to jail, so he was more worried about that, and when I was begging for help, he didn’t care very much,” Samantha claims.
Adam's family say they believe he has post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, from serving in Iraq. Dr. Phil reads an email from Adam’s sister, Diane:
“I am writing you because my sister-in-law is coming on your show due to my brother, Adam Brown, who has severe PTSD. I would like to state that what happened was awful. I would also like to state that she has abused Adam for years, ran him over with her car, stabbed him, even threw a 10-pound ashtray at his eye, and he couldn’t see for two weeks. She’s been telling the news that she didn’t know the gun was in the house, but the truth is, she did. Due to her drug use and bad parenting, the kids are not to be with her. When her husband would go to school, her 5- year-old would be running around the complex, asking for food for her and her younger brother, who is 2 now, because Samantha would neglect to feed or change her kids’ diapers. I know you’re a good judge of character and should see right through this girl. My brother Adam is suffering from severe PTSD, and my heart goes out to him and every other war vet out there suffering from this disease. This is a tragedy, what happened to Samantha. It’s also a tragedy to Adam who has to suffer from this disease, who loves his wife and kids and wouldn’t hurt a fly before the army and now.”
Samantha admits that she has been physically combative with her husband as well.
“Did you run him over with your car?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I didn’t run him over. We were in a parking lot, and he got out of the car, and I went to take off, and then I went back to get him, and I hit him, but it wasn’t intentional,” she says.
Dr. Phil asks if, in hindsight, there were any red flags that she may have missed or ignored. “Should you have gotten out of this relationship a long time ago?” he asks.
“I honestly feel that I did everything that I could. Granted, this is what happened to me for staying, but I wanted my family. I still love my husband, and I would not change trying to save my family at all,” she says.
Dr. Phil says drug abuse and domestic violence are deal-breakers in relationships. “There are deal-breakers, where you have to say, ‘This is not a family. This is not a marriage, and I’m not going to be with this person unless and until an objective independent professional tells me it’s safe to go back there.’ You have children in that home, as you mentioned. You’ve got children with a drug-abusing, AK-47 armed [man who’s] firing a weapon? That’s not saving your family. That’s putting yourself and your children in harm’s way."
Samantha explains why she didn’t leave her husband.
Samantha says because she didn’t leave after the incident with the handgun, CPS said she put her kids in harm’s way, so they removed her children from her home and placed them in her sister’s care. Samantha is currently only able to see her children with supervision.
Dr. Phil reviews symptoms of PTSD
and warning signs that abuse may occur.
He says he hasn’t evaluated Adam, but PTSD would be on his short list of considerations. He also shares some recent shocking statistics about veterans and PTSD:
- 50 percent of treatment-seeking veterans with PTSD or combat-related mental health issues commit wife battering and family violence.
- Male veterans with PTSD are two to three times more likely to engage in intimate partner violence.
- Majority of veterans with combat stress commit at least one act of spousal abuse in their first year of post-deployment.
“There are so many victims in this situation that it’s heart breaking,” Dr. Phil says. He reads a statement from Adam’s family:
“Since returning from active duty, Adam changed from a quiet, decent young man to a depressed, quiet, sullen individual who began drinking, experimenting with drugs and showed at times serious anger issues. He’s been hospitalized on numerous occasions at the VA for depression, alcohol abuse and drug abuse. He experienced several seizures associated with medications prescribed and was reluctant to continue taking the medications. He had been steadily going downhill, and his family feels he has given up. His attorney unsuccessfully attempted several times to have Adam transferred to the VA for treatment. The VA claims not to have the facilities to treat him. We continue to not only try to help Adam, but also his wife, and especially his two children. We are deeply sorry for the events that took place, but feel that proper medical attention was seriously lacking. Thank you for your help, The Brown Family.”
Dr. Phil explains that Samantha will have to make some changes and prove to CPS that she’s not a negligent parent, and he offers resources to help her do that, so she can get her children back as soon as possible.
A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
Laurie says while divorcing her husband, Andre, in 2010, he did the unthinkable: He shot and killed their 4- and 5-year-old sons, and then turned the gun on himself. Andre survived and is currently on death row. Laurie shares her heartbreaking story. How can she find peace after such a horrible tragedy?
“Everything was great, until he revealed that he was living this secret life.”
Laurie tells Dr. Phil that there were no warning signs that her ex-husband was capable of such a violent act. “I married my best friend. I loved him. He was a great guy. We had everything. I don’t know how someone gets from one place to the next, other than he had a thought that it would hurt me, it would destroy me if he hurt the children.”
Laurie says after she learned that Andre cheated on her with a prostitute, they went through 18 months of family counseling. Then one day, she says he confessed that it was 27 prostitutes. “I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I needed my space. I knew I had to leave. I had to leave for my kids,” she says.
She says Andre seemed to understand at first, but then he became angry. Still, she never saw any reason to be concerned — the children loved their father, and he loved them.
Laurie says she got the last word in court when she faced her ex-husband. Hear an audio recording of her message to him.
In a previous interview, Laurie reveals how she moves forward: “Every day, I wake up, and I live every parent’s worst nightmare — that their kids were killed. But I can’t live in that space. And I’m not going to just survive. I’m not going to live here, tormented by what happened to my children. I live as if nothing is forever — it’s just for right now,” she says.
Laurie says she has found love again and is now a wife and stepmother to two young girls.
“May God visit you with peace for all the rest of your days,” Dr. Phil tells her.