A Killer Among Us?: Moms

A Killer Among Us?: Moms

"Within the first half hour after meeting Chris, I just told her, ‘Honey, you need to run, not walk, but run away from this relationship,'" recalls Debby, Amanda's mother.


Cheryl says of her son, "I don't think he is abnormally violent at all." She says Amanda doesn't help to calm the situation. "She makes things worse," she says. "If she went to the

door, and threw her arms around him [and said], ‘Hi, Honey. I'm so happy you're home,' and had dinner ready, he'd be putty in her hands." She shares her advice for the couple. "They need to stay together, stop fighting, get along and make [Brookelyn] a happy home."


"It does bother me that Chris' mother, Cheryl, wants to see Chris and Amanda stay together, even though she knows Chris is abusive," Debby shares. "I worry every day that I'm going to see or read about my daughter in the news."


In his studio, Dr. Phil asks Amanda, "Are you a provoker?"


"At some points," she says.

"Do you escalate things to the point that it gets out of control and you wish you hadn't?"

"Yes," she admits.

Turning to Cheryl, who's sitting in the audience, Dr. Phil asks, "Are you concerned about Amanda's safety?"

"I'm concerned about all their safety," she says. 

"Are you concerned that your son may go too far?" Dr. Phil probes.

"I don't know," she says. 

Dr. Phil shows a tape of Chris discussing the murder-suicide scenario.

"Maybe that's why you have families where there's murder-suicide, because as soon as they realize what they did " I would," he says, tears flooding his face. "I don't want to die. Honestly, I would like to tell myself that I would kill myself before I could ever kill Amanda, but if I ever killed Amanda, I would surely go right after."


As he continues to break down emotionally and wipe away tears, Chris says, "Then you're going to have thoughts crossing your mind like, ‘What about Brookelyn? You can't leave her by herself.' That is probably the most horrible, terrifying thing that I've ever thought about in my whole life."

As the tape ends, Chris hangs his head and cries.

Cheryl says, "I had no idea," as she drops her head in her hands. "I'm shocked." 

Turning to Chris, Dr. Phil asks, "Do you trust yourself?"

"I do trust myself," he says. "That can never happen, and if it ever starts looking like that, then yeah, we need to split. We need to run. That is unacceptable. That is the first time in my life that I've ever been able to make that mental connection in my head of how a situation like that could



"But you do justify to yourself things that you do to control her," Dr. Phil says, and asks Amanda if that's the case.

"All the time it's justification. I'm the one who pushes him," she says.

"If you can justify one thing, you can justify another," Dr. Phil says to Chris. "You can't be doing what you're doing unless you're feeling tremendous pain inside. You have to have some help and some relief from that before something happens here." He continues, "I am as at least concerned about you here, as I am about Amanda and the child. You don't want to wind up in jail for domestic violence."

Chris agrees that he wants to put a stop to his behavior.

Dr. Phil addresses Amanda. "This stuff about provoking the situation, that's dumb. You don't want to do that. That is not the way to resolve this," he tells her.

Dr. Phil introduces Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "This situation is a delicate one to get out of, correct?" he asks her.

"It is, and it can be. It can be dangerous for her and for her child to escap
e a potentially violent situation," she says. "In fact, after you leave a violent situation, it becomes even more dangerous. A woman is more likely to be murdered after she leaves because she's taken herself outside of his control, and then he really loses it. If you're going to leave, you have to be really careful about how you do it."

"You've got to have a plan. You've got to have protection. You've got to have things in place," Dr. Phil says. "The danger is higher when you leave, because it brings everything to a crisis point, a panic point, a point of desperation, so there's got to be a plan." Turning to Amanda he says, "It doesn't involve confrontation. It doesn't involve pushing, yelling and screaming. It involves having a thoughtful plan that involves protection for everybody concerned."

At the end of the show, Dr. Phil asks Chris, "Do you think that your wife and daughter can predict a safe and peaceful existence with you?"

"I don't think she can," he says.

"I agree with that," Dr. Phil says. He points out that Chris is not an evil guy. "I don't think you like yourself when you
do this, but that doesn't make [Amanda ] any less injured, or any less dead, or your daughter any less impacted for what happens." He suggests that Chris seek help. "I don't even think that this marriage is so far gone that it can't be repaired," he notes.

Turning to Amanda, Dr. Phil warns, "I do not believe you are safe right now."

Dr. Phil offers Chris resources to help him deal with his internal suffering. "By the way," he tells him, "You're not all of the marriage problems here. But your volatility is what has to be focused on first here."


Chris accepts the help as tears run down his face.

Dr. Phil asks Kim Gandy to help the family create a plan to insure Amanda and Brookelyn's safety.


If you or someone you know is living in an abusive relationship, there is help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.