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Man Killed in Church Leaves Message

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  • Loren Coleman
    Portland, Maine Maine Sunday Telegram December 9, 2001 Man Killed in Church Leaves Message Friends of a Vermont man shot by police find his confusing
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2001
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      Portland, Maine
      Maine Sunday Telegram
      December 9, 2001
      Man Killed in Church Leaves Message

      Friends of a Vermont
      man shot by police find his
      confusing cell-phone call
      on their voice mail.

      The Associated Press
      BRATTLEBORO, Vt -The knife wielding man shot to death by police in a church
      warned friends via cell phone shortly before his death about the dangers of
      political assassinations and global warming.

      Friends of Robert Woodward discovered the three-minute message on their
      voice mail system two days after the Bellows Falls man had died from his

      Mary Rives and Keith Carlson of Amherst, Mass., made the answering machine
      tape recording available to the Rutland Herald.

      It is uncertain if the recording was made before or after Woodward was shot
      seven times by police. His friends believe it was made after the shooting;
      Windham County State's Attorney Dan Davis said investigators believe
      Woodward made no phone calls after he was shot.

      On the tape, Woodward is heard groaning and yelling. There is a lot of
      background noise and people are heard yelling, "all clear the room, all
      clear the room."

      Toward the end of the message, voices are heard telling people to stay

      Authorities maintain they know of no cell phone calls made by Woodward after
      he was shot.

      "Political assassination, political assassination, political
      assassination...global warming," the voice says on the tape.

      He tells his friends repeatedly, amid moans, "I love you, I love you:
      help, help, help me, help me, help."

      The three-minute message, the limit of the couple's voice mail system, is
      clouded with a lot of background noise, but there is moaning , and yelling
      through most of it and the sound of people rushing around and talking.

      Davis said Woodward, 37, used the words "political assassination" repeatedly
      during his confrontation at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
      Sunday morning..

      But Davis said he was sure that the message was left before Woodward was
      shot. "I am unaware of any phone calls he made after he was shot," Davis
      said Thursday evening.

      Police said on Monday that a church member made calls on a cell phone for
      Woodward, but before police entered the church.

      There are no apparent gunshots heard on the tape, but the word "shot" is
      heard toward the end of the message.

      Woodward was shot seven times by two Brattleboro police officers, Terrance
      Parker and Marshall Holbrook, with the fatal shot a wound to Woodward's
      stomach, Davis said.

      At some point in the tape the words "towels" and "first aid kit" are
      mentioned, as well as a woman saying she was a physician and wanted to help.

      Rives said that she and her son, Rene, and her husband, Keith Carlson, were
      longtime friend of Woodward, who was known to his friends as Woody.

      Rives said she and her family were away on Sunday and listened to the
      message on Tuesday when they got home. At first they didn't know what
      it was. It was only after they learned that Woodward had been shot and
      killed by police that they realized the tape was a call for help from their

      The family plans to turn a copy of the tape over to police.
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