The Sun Sentinel

Lawyer killed; ex-wife leaps off bridge in Tampa

By VICKIE CHACHERE Associated Press
Sun Sentinel Web-posted: 11:34 p.m. May 16, 2000

TAMPA -- A prominent attorney was shot to death in his home and his ex-wife survived a 175-foot jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Tuesday as detectives searched for her as a suspect.

Grover Cleveland Freeman, 54, called 911 but died at about 11:30 p.m. Monday from a gunshot to the upper body, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Freeman's wife, Connie, 50, had minor injuries after she was beaten with a gun and slightly strangled.

His ex-wife, Katherine King Freeman, 41, had surgery at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg after a fire department rescue crew pulled her from Tampa Bay. She was in critical condition.

Katherine Freeman is being charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery and armed burglary of a dwelling, sheriff's spokesman Rod Reder said.

Katherine and Grover Freeman have a daughter, Westin, 13, who was being cared for by family. They divorced in 1996 and friends said it was an amicable split, Reder said.

There were no prior domestic violence calls at either of the Freemans' homes, Reder said. Katherine Freeman lived about a mile from her ex-husband, who had bought the home so he could be close to Westin, friends said.

Grover Freeman's law partner Howard Hunter said he spoke with Connie Freeman on Tuesday, and she told him there was no trouble with Katherine Freeman.

The killing shocked Tampa's legal and medical communities, where Grover Freeman had a reputation for defending doctors being disciplined by medical regulators.

Sheriff's officials said the incident began Monday evening when Katherine Freeman forced her way into her ex-husband's lakefront home and shot him. Reder said Connie Freeman confronted her.

The two woman struggled. Connie Freeman broke free and fled to a neighbor's house to call for help.

Detectives searched for Katherine Freeman throughout the night. Shortly after 6 a.m., they received a telephone call that a woman was in the water below the bridge.

Copyright 1999, Sun-Sentinel Co. & South Florida Interactive, Inc.