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Anne Scripps Douglas
Born Template:Birth-date
Albany, New York
Died Template:Death-date (age 47)
Bronxville, New York
Children Alexandra Morrell
Anne Morrell Petrillo
Victoria Douglas

Anne Scripps Douglas (November 18, 1946 — December 31, 1993) was a publishing heiress to the Scripps newspaper publishing, being the great-great granddaughter of James E. Scripps, founder of The Detroit News. She was bludgeoned by her second husband Scott Douglas as she slept in their Westchester County home.

Family and Marriages

Anne Scripps was the daughter of Captain James Scripps, a former merchant marine, and Anne Scripps. She had a brother James and a sister Mary who still live in Albany, New York. In 1969, when Scripps was 23 years of age, she married Anthony Morrell, a Rye stockbroker. The wedding was held in the St. Regis Hotel. The marriage resulted in two daughters, Alexandra and Annie. Her marriage to Anthony Morrell ended in divorce, but she loved and doted on her daughters greatly. In 1988, Scripps met Scott Douglas, an out of work and self employed house painter, at a party. She hired him to paint her house and they quickly married that October. They had a daughter Victoria, nicknamed Tori. Douglas did not get along with Scripps' oldest daughter Alexandra, who thought of him as not bright or articulate enough for her mother, and she quickly moved out of the house.

Violence and Murder

Scripps daughters noticed that Douglas started drinking more heavily and became erratically violent towards their mother, openly hitting her in public on at least one occasion. Both Alex and Annie advised their mother to file for divorce and get an order of eviction to have him removed from their home. In 1991, Scripps took Tory and moved in with Alex. She had changed her will and moved back in for fear that Douglas would take Tory and flee. During the holidays, Scripps discovered Douglas had removed files such as Tory's birth certificate and other records from the house. Scripps and her two eldest daughters began documenting and keeping records of the assaults, and went on December 6, 1993 to obtain an eviction notice; however, the judge refused to order his eviction. Scripps told a friend that she began sleeping with a hammer under her bed because Douglas new method of abuse is to wake her up in the middle of the night to scare and berate her. On December 31, 1993 Scripps, 47 years old, who was asleep across the hall from her 3 year old daughter Tory, was bludgeoned with a hammer by her husband of 5 years Scott Douglas, 38 years old. Scripps daughter Anne had called the police on January 1, 1994 at 3:30 am, because she was unable to get into contact with her mother or Douglas, the police arrived and knocked down the locked door, and found Scripps unconscious in bed, her sheets soaked in blood, her terrier puppy next to her trying to comfort her. Across the hall Tory, then 3 years old had witnessed the crime that left her mother's skull irreparably broken. Tory Douglas was reported as saying, "Daddy gave Mommy boo-boos. Daddy gave Mommy many boo-boos. Why is Mommy wearing warpaint?" Immediately the police began searching for Scott Douglas, in a matter of hours Douglas' 1982 BMW was found on the Tappan Zee Bridge with the bloody hammer inside, the authorities dragged the Hudson River for him, but still operated under the assumption he was still alive. As Scripps lay in the upstate New York hospital, her first husband, Anthony Morrell, who was in the terminal stages of cirrhosis of the liver and had been hospitalized near Philadelphia, left his hospital bed to be at her side. A week after the attack —two days after the authorities stopped dragging the Hudson for Douglas's body— Scripps was taken off life support and died without regaining consciousness. In her death, she was able to give her liver, which was transplanted into her ex husband, Anthony Morrell, saving his life. "Her daughters acted on what they knew would be their mother's wishes," said family attorney, "Anne left this world the way she lived in it-- loving and giving."

Resolution

In the days after Anne's death, her family lashed out at the authorities who allowed Scott Douglas to remain in the home. Scripps mother told the press, "This could have been prevented. My daughter would be alive today, if that judge hadn't let him stay here. I think it's criminal."

The family alleged that the New Rochelle Family Court Judge Ingrid Braslow refused to grant an order barring Douglas from the house in spite of the assertions that he beat her and tried to shove her from the car. However, court documents show that these allegations relate to the 1991 that was not before Braslow. The transcript of the December 6 hearing shows Braslow was not asked to remove Douglas. The Scripp family later filed an $11 million suit against the county.

Three months after Anne Scripps' death, there was a break in the case when a railroad employee found the corpse of a man in jeans, not far from where Douglas' car was left. Dental records identified the corpse as Scott Douglas. The Scripps family met the news with relief. "It was a surprise, but the nightmare is over," stated Anne Morrell. "We don't have to worry anymore about him coming after us or Tory," said Alexandra Morrell.

The Scripps family went on to rebuild their lives,the holidays forever marked by the violence of that New Year's Eve. Authorities re-examined the "system" that failed Anne Scripps Douglas and made changes. The modifications that the Westchester County dealt with domestic violence would prevent a similar occurrence from happening, authorities hoped. Scripps ex-husband Anthony Morrell died in 2005.

Suicide of Daughter Annie Morrell

On September 25, 2009 the Huffington Post stated the New York State Police believe the Annie Morrell Petrillo, daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas with first ex-husband Anthony Morrell, had jumped to her death from the same bridge her stepfather Scott Douglas jumped from on January 1, 1994 after murdering his wife. Police were searching the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge around 25 miles north of Manhattan for the body of Anne Morrell Petrillo. Authorities state they found a note and believe she got out of her car and jumped off the bridge the evening September 24. On September 27, the police state they found a body in the Hudson River that is believed to be Anne Morrell Petrillo. According to a witness, she stopped her car on the Tappan Zee Bridge and got out and jumped. The contents of the suicide note were released by an interview on the ABC show 20/20 in 2010. Family friends state that Annie never got over the senseless tragedy of her mother's murder and she had been hospitalized several times for depression. At the time of Annie's death, she was finalizing a divorce and had a son Michael.

References

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