By Guy Leonard,
HOLLYWOOD, Md. (July 10, 2008)—A Lexington Park man accused of murdering his estranged wifes boyfriend and attempting to kill her in the process must continue paying child support for their three children.
A ruling by Circuit Court Master F. Michael Harris last week determined that Koummane Virasith must still make the child support payments to Melissa Virasith despite being detained in the St. Marys County Detention Center.
The double shooting that took the life of Thomas John Saunders, 38, and seriously injured Melissa Virasith, 40, occurred April 10.
Before the shooting occurred, Melissa Virasith had filed two domestic violence complaints against her husband for alleged abusive behavior. The couple separated in 2006, court documents stated, with Koummane Virasith made to pay $400 a month in child support.
Melissa Virasith wrote to the court in late June stating that child support was now vital to her keeping her family going while she was recovering from the shooting.
I have no income and will not have any income for some time to come, Melissa Virasith wrote. I feel that he is still responsible for the support of our three sons and I do not want to modify our support agreement.
Melissa Virasith stated in her letter that she was currently a paraplegic as a result of the shooting and was undergoing therapy at a hospital in Baltimore.
In a letter to the court written little more than a week after Koummane Virasith allegedly shot the two victims, he stated that he had always paid his child support on time every month while gainfully employed.
His incarceration in the detention center now made that impossible, he wrote in the letter.
Harris agreed to enforce the current order, court records ref lect, and even more Harris actually found that Virasith had had himself incarcerated so that he could avoid making the payments.
Virasith was first ordered to start making the payments in October of 2007.
Pauline Mandel, an attorney with the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center who represents Melissa Virasith, said that her client declined to comment on recent proceedings.
Virasith is set to be tried for Saunders murder and the shooting of his wife in September, according to court papers.
States Attorney Richard Fritz told The County Times that he will seek life imprisonment for Koummane Virasith for the double shooting; Fritz said he was also considering filing motions that called for the defendant to imprisoned without the possibility of parole.
Fritz said in a hearing before Circuit Court Judge C. Clarke Raley that he had been waiting for three to four weeks for an attorney from the Public Defenders Office to enter an appearance as Koummane Virasiths lawyer in the murder trial.
The public defenders office has taken the case.
Fritz said progress in the case had stalled as he was waiting for another attorney to receive the discovery of all the evidence uncovered in the shooting investigation.
Im happy because discovery can continue and we can move towards trial, Fritz said. We want to stay on course.
Ex-Husband Shoots Wife, Another Man Dead, April 11, 2008