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The Main Line Murders, 30 years later.

This is the 30th Anniversary of the Main Line Murders, detailed in this CNN article:
Maine Line Murder Case Echoes 30 Years Later

I have a connection to this case. Susan Reinert was a friend of my mother's, and I knew both her children, Michael and Karen,with whom I played at "Parents Without Partners" meetings that our respective mothers attended.

What's more, Vince Valaitas who is referenced heavily in this article, was my favorite teach at Upper Merion High School, from which I graduated. He was a kindly, encouraging, enthusiastically geeky guy who managed to be both a huge trekker, and also well-spoken and charismatic. He was profoundly effected by this case; the "two part mini-series" mentioned in this article aired in my senior year, 1989. Mr. Valaitas had a hard time with it, as he was himself a character in the show. (Played by an actor, of course.) He was honest about how badly used he felt by Bradfield, and how much the murders had haunted him through his whole life.

It's weird and dark to hear about my favorite teacher in this manner, but I'm glad to hear that he's the head of the English department, and glad to hear he's talking about what happened. And I'm chilled to read this, "The focus shifted to the school where they all taught -- Upper Merion High School, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Upper Merion was already roiling in scandal. The principal, Smith, was headed to prison. He'd been caught robbing Sears stores dressed as a security guard and prowling a mall parking lot, armed and wearing a hood."

Given that this school was the same that just a few years later graduated Caleb Farley, who turned out to be a murderer himself, it just seems like my dear old Alma Mater is cursed.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 30th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
He was one of the first people I met who could be both completely nerdy and also very suave.
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
I lived in Harrisburg and having read all I could find about this case years ago there is no doubt Reinert was a skank and got her own children murdered. You never put your life insurance policy in someone's name that is so wholly unconnected with you and your family. I feel nothing but disgust for this stupid stupid woman.

The Reinert children, on the other hand, break my heart. Their lives were snuffed out far too young due to their mother's idiocy. They never had the opportunity to go to high school, graduate, go to college or even make their own mistakes. It tears me up they were in the custody of someone so incredibly irresponsible.

Smith never told what he did with the children or his own daughter and her husband. The father of those two children was never able to give his children a proper goodbye, it's horrific to not know what happened or where your children are. The one thing I hold onto for the Reinert children is the hope Smith put them wherever he put his own daughter and her husband so they are not alone. I have no rational explanation as to why this thought makes me feel better, I guess it's because they were just little kids.
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
I can't imagine why anything would "make you feel better" if you blame an innocent woman for her own death and the murder of her children. Nor can I imagine why anyone should care if you feel better or not, holding those sorts of hateful, repugnant opinions.
Jul. 1st, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Reinert was an adult, almost 40. She had a masters degree. As an educated adult she had a specific responsibility not only to her children but to herself. You can't tell me if your already involved "boyfriend" was in a sweat for you to make him the beneficiary of your life insurance policies over your children this wouldn't raise red flags for you. Common sense dictates so much.

Maybe it is heartless oh well. I'm not in the habit of making excuses for the behavior of adults, they're adults.

I feel for the kids. They were the innocents in all of this.

Jul. 1st, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
You're blaming a victim. It is not reasonable to hold the victim of a crime responsible for the crime. Susan Reinert may have been foolishly naive, but she was in no way deserving of murder, as you suggest. Nor was she, I must say, a "skank" - she was a friend of my mother's, and her children were friends and playmates of mine. She was a kind, warm, generous person as I remember her.

Your (cowardly anonymous) insults are reprehensible.
Jul. 1st, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
"You're blaming a victim. It is not reasonable to hold the victim of a crime responsible for the crime. Susan Reinert may have been foolishly naive, but she was in no way deserving of murder, as you suggest."

Jul. 1st, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
I never said or suggested she deserved to be murdered. She didn't. No one does.

Looking at this as an adult, without personal connection, this woman should have been more responsible for herself. There are situations you do not put yourself in, the bells and whistles should have been blaring. Killing people for insurance is not a novelty. Her situation with her man started out bad and went downhill and she knew it. And if she didn't know she had to see it during her cat fight with her boyfriend's longtime girlfriend. As an educated adult and a parent Reinert's mindset was disturbing on so many levels.

The word skank may have been a little strong and for this I apologize, you have a personal connection I don't. You should have fond memories of this woman. You were friends with her children and you were a kid yourself. Sorry you didn't get to graduate with them, you should have.
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
How about blaming the two psychopaths who murdered her? Funny how you never get around to blaming them, and in fact, THANK Jay Smith for theoretically burying his two child victims with two other victims.

That's just sick. The guilt for every murder every committed lies with the murderer, and not the victim.
Jul. 1st, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Ah...the argument of last resort - twisting the words of others. I realize it may be a shock for you to realize Reinert's reckless, juvenile behavior and her complete lack of care and concern for her children elicited nothing but contempt for her from many, including the police but it's reality. Normal people care more about their children than themselves and it's incomprehensible to them she would play so fast and loose with her own life and the lives of her children. But she did.

I never thanked Smith for anything. I said I hoped the children weren't alone. There are two completely forgotten Smith victims in this mess. I could construe your comments as a complete lack of care about two dead junkies and more concern for Reinert due to your personal connection but that would be wrong like your saying I thanked Smith. I didn't.

Bradfield died in prison. Apropos. It's unfortunate it was a quick heart attack instead something slower and much more painful. Too bad Smith walked but now he's dead too. Both men and the ancillary players, except Vitalis, were reprehensible people.

Jul. 1st, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Listen, I don't know who you are - but you seem to be espousing the classic hard Right Wing position of "blame the vicitm". Let me guess - if a woman is drunk when she gets raped, in your mind, she was asking for it?

Your contempt for a kind woman who was brutally killed is, to me, quite disgusting. You go on and on about how she is culpable for her own murder and the murder of her children. That's disgusting. Everyone under the sun, at some point or another, trusts someone untrustworthy or leaves themselves vulnerable to some kind of abuse, being taken advantage of, or harmed. But whatever Ayn Rand may blather about, that doesn't make it their fault, and they're not morally culpable.

The moral and ethical culpability for the murder of Susan Reinert and her children lies solely with the psychopaths who murdered her for selfish and venal reasons. She is not to blame. They are. If you were fooled and murdered by someone charismatic, convincing and whom you believed you could trust - no matter how foolish that might have been on your part, it wouldn't be your fault.

I don't believe Jay Smith's children are "forgotten" - they two are victims of his depravity. Whatever their character flaws (and those of Susan Reinert) they didn't deserve to be murdered, they shouldn't have been murdered, and the culpability for their deaths lies solely with Jay Smith and his accomplice.

I wouldn't be too smug about your anonymity, either. I have a stats tracker.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Subjecting me to a political rant. Wrong again, I am registered left. However this is not about political affiliation sorry to burst your bubble this is apolitical.

I suppose more than anything it boils down to being jaded. After years of reading about situations like this in the paper everyday it becomes exceedingly difficult to feel for people who place themselves in harms way intentionally. There are innocent victims and then there are those that make themselves victims. Someone shot in a drive by is an innocent victim, Reinert's children are innocent victims. Reinert made herself a victim. My feeling are the same for Reinert as they are for a dead gang banger sad but oh well. Both knew the situation they were getting themselves into before their death but they did nothing to save themselves and other options were available.

Once again Reinert did not deserved to be murdered. Once again absolutely no one deserves to have their life taken.

Smug? No. Tired - yes. Btw I'm computer literate I know my IP is tagged on posts so what.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
There are innocent victims and then there are those that make themselves victims.

If you're saying that a victim of murder - ANY victim - can be morally culpable for their own murder, you're espousing a truly disgusting ethic. This is precisely the same reasoning (I use the term loosely) that blames women for their own rape. It's disgusting.

Susan Reinert may have lacked in judgement, but she didn't MAKE herself a victim, nor did she perpetrate a crime, nor was she complicit in a crime, nor was she morally culpable in a crime. If you hold her in higher contempt than the actual perpetrators of a crime, you are simply lacking in human compassion. Or perhaps you have some strange issues with women, and it excites you to see them become victims? Have you some shameful past that the state of Virginia ought to be notified about?
Jul. 1st, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
No, that's not what I'm saying. You are being deliberately obtuse. I stated there are victims and there are those that make themselves victims. You are well aware of what I mean, I'm know there are moments you have thought to yourself "what the...." after reading the paper - it's human and it's natural.

Reinert's behavior was infuriating, her priority was her children not Bradfield. She failed herself and her children miserably. No, my contempt for Smith and Bradfield is boundless, they're disgusting examples of what human beings should be.

Reinert was educated, nearly 40 and knew what the deal was. She should have dumped Bradfield and changed her beneficiary after the juvenile delinquent, jr. high school cat fight she engaged in. But she didn't. If she wanted to sow her wild oats she should have had the decency to send her children to their father. They'd be alive today if she had.

I have compassion for her children but that is where my compassion ends.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
there is no doubt Reinert was a skank and got her own children murdered.

This pretty clearly states it. She "got her children murdered". No blame cast or a word said about Smith or Bradfield. Just the entirely innocent Susan Reinert. No wait, she's not innocent, she "got her own children murdered."

Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
I, too, feel disgust.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
P.S. I pretty much know who is out there in VA who has toxic attitudes about women, claims to be "registered left" but consistently argues from the crazy right, and might have good reason (or who knows, just petty reason) to be anonymous on LJ. So I won't "out" you. You know, there's that whole policy on that, until Obama does something.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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