An apology to the Romando and Walton families and friends

To the friends and family of the Romandos and Waltons and to the Charlottesville community at large,

On Thursday, August 30, I wrote and posted an article covering the deaths of Lily, Andrew, and Noah Romando and their mother, Beth Walton. While to the best of my knowledge the facts contained in my article are accurate, the tone of the article, a lack of context, and the original headline were insensitive and have added to the anguish of those who knew and loved the deceased. For that, I am truly sorry.

As many regular Hook readers know, I have been with this paper as senior editor since its inception in 2002 and worked for four years prior to that at C-VILLE Weekly, where Beth Walton was employed at the time of her death. I have covered other tragedies in our community and have always tried to adhere to a high standard of journalism. In covering other stories, I have developed close working relationships with those affected and have tried to present facts, even those that are unpleasant, in an unbiased manner, always keeping in mind that there are real lives affected, hearts broken, families devastated.

While I am an investigative reporter, I am also a member of this community and a mother of children close to the Romando children's ages. In my efforts to remain objective in a tragedy that is unfathomable, and which has directly affected many people with whom I am personally acquainted, I believe I stepped back too far and failed to provide in-depth reporting that remained sensitive to the small, close-knit community of which we are all members. I am working now to complete a more nuanced piece that will replace the original article. I hope that will be a step toward restoring trust in me as a journalist and, more importantly, will allow those grieving space to mourn their immense loss.


Courteney Stuart

Read more on: apologyCourteney Stuart


Wow, some integrety after all. I am impressed.

Thank you Courtney. Having been a friend of Lily's and fellow parishoner at their church, I was deeply disgusted by the article and it made me very angry towards The Hook and the general media. I am glad to see that my original opinion of this paper can now be restored. Thank you again for fixing something that was stomach turning for myself and many others.

Trying to CYA after the damage is already done.....shameful.

You have kept the ethics of your proffesion alive and well. I thank you. It takes a real good person to say when they were wrong. You are a credit to The Hook. A true journalist!

A more nuanced article? So you can freely insinuate and leave it to our imagination? This just gets better.

Thank you for this...It may be unprecedented. Not only is the community reeling but many of us have children who need to be guided through something their parents/teachers/spiritual advisors are grappling to cope with as well. What happened is complex and we will probably never understand it. But make no mistake, the entire famIly was loved.

Thank you for your apology. However I must say that I am blown away at the lengths people went to harshly judge your article. Ironically, I see very little judging with regards to what Noah allegedly did. What he did was horrific and unfathomable. Lily and Andrew as well as their mother were quite loved. I'm just curious why there hasn't been more anger and upheaval over the fact that Noah chose not just to take his own life, which would have been bad enough, but to take the lives of his family members as well. I am frightened that we are becoming numb as a society to this level of violence.

Can you please remove your original piece until the more accurate report is complete?

@The Donald... take a look at what Jim Harris wrote... my sentiments exactly... The Donald, are you perfect? Do you never make mistakes? If you are not by chance perfect, are you able to admit fault and apologize?

I commend you Courtney. Your job is not easy and I often think about that for all you small town journalists... that you must often offend people, people you know, but that that is the nature of the job. Thank you for what you do. The Hook continues to impress me with their investigative nature.

I think the line of investigation regarding Satamisim is not something to dismiss, no matter if some feelings are hurt like Mr. Mike's, though I am truly sorry that that happens. We can spare lives if we know more about what people are thinking and know more about what might be the cause of their deep internal angst. You might find in your investigation that Satanism had zero to do with this, but we owe it to other individuals that could fall in the line of fire, as did this family, to get to the bottom of it. Columbine and other tragedies were lessons to be learned, as writings, journals, etc. were left behind by the troubled ones. If the facts are there, in this case, he was indeed a member of a Satanic website, then that is truly something to look into. I have looked at the site where he was a member and have seen a lot of unsavory postings and angry sounding people, including the "leader" of it.

Sometimes what is painful to hear, can create awareness, and hopefully lives are saved down the road.

Thank you for your humble apology about the article, but also, thank you for your history of great investigative reporting. I have enjoyed reading the Hook because it tends to go deeper.

My thoughts are with the family at this time as they mourn their loss and seek answers.

The Donald-- what is wrong with you??

Charlottesville Resident, I agree with you. Noah did a horrific, selfish, sick thing. We need to get to the bottom of it so it doesn't happen again. Courtney, thanks for looking into multiple angles. Yes, we all have to live together here and get along, but I want to know why this happened. That family did not deserve to die and I want to know what was in Noah's head. Hook... help us find out! Keep up the good work!

Newspapers report the news. And all the nuances that they can, which the public cries out for. I'm astonished by the negative feedback to the Hook's story. What would you have them do? Not report it? Give only a cursory report? Courteney has done an excellent job, as she invariably does, and all of you moaning and cursing and shouting CYA are simply pontificating and ingeniously crying foul. Think for a minute of the horrific events that occurred. You're going to vilify the reporter, not the killer? Take a deep breath and examine your own motives.

Right on, VA Girl.

Let me clarify my points. I don't understand why Noah did what he did, and I'm not going to pretend like I do. I also don't understand Satanism, but agree awareness should be raised. The part that bothered me was when the article talked about Lily, a vicitm, being a sad and death-loving person because of her tumblr account or music choices. That was the part that hurt because I felt it left her, again the victim, vulnerable to lots of undeserved judgement. It also had very little to do with the actual story. It was tarnishing a 100% innocent person's memory. I agree with Chicken Taco's points. Again, I never attacked you (Courtney) in your original article, I just stewed in silence. I am very glad that you're improving the article, I respect you a lot for apologizing.

Admirable. Thank you.

Courteney Stuart wrote a sensationalist article that ignited considerable controversy and conflict both in the community she reports in, and the Satanist ranks. Hopefully there will be a balanced and deeply investigative piece of journalism coming which will answer the questions everyone is asking of why this happened.

Satanist ranks ohh geez lets not get off track with our comments again please. The only thing missing is an apology from the editor who allowed the original piece to be published. As far as answering questions about this tragedy I don't think we will ever know why it happened. As the editor you are in charge of your weekly you decide what makes the cut and what does'nt. How the original got published is another tragedy we may never know the answers to.

Nice, if a bit late
Now will someone please change that awful "23 skidoo" headline

I know people will appreciate the sentiment but this wasn't necessary. You are a reporter - this is what you do. Ever since this happened (or any time something 'different' happens in Charlottesville) people are so gossipy and want to know everything they can about it. The people who commented, harshly, on your article are no different or better. They just decided to ride their high horse to town that day - maybe because they were on some kick or maybe because THIS time they knew the people.

The support on the comments section here, other news sites and social media sites disgusts me far more than your article did.

I meant the support for Noah on those sites disgusts me more than your article*

I've read both of the original pieces and fail to see what could be so offensive to even those closest to the departed. The articles were detailed and insightful without being judgmental, I felt. While, I am deeply, deeply saddend by this tragedy, I was appreciative of the facts and not the sentiment.

No apology necessary. If I had to depend on the Daily Progress for the story behind this tragedy, I would not know anything. Thank you for your reporting on this and other local stories - without The Hook, we are in the dark in C'ville.

This is welcomed. Lets see what gets printed this week...

I'm sorry, but I'm another person who fails to see why an apology is even called for; there was nothing derogatory or denigrating of the Waltons or Romandos in the original reportage. What there was - and this is exactly the job of the reporter and publication - was an exploration of what happened...and a public airing of some unpleasant details.

I think the attacks on the paper, editor and reporter are misdirected anguish from grieving people - people who really are in shock and denial about what has happened. This is a natural response, and they want to lash out at anything that reminds them of what has happened...and anything that in any way reminds them of unpleasantness about the deceased. The kid who did this - whom they knew and wanted to feel good about - is a much harder target to think of than the reporter...the reporter and paper are safe targets to lash out at.

There was a ton of this kind of misdirected grief and anger during the whole Morgan Harrington murder sensation. Just because news is exciting and drives readership does not mean that the life of your loved one is being exploited for financial gain. The newspaper does not go out and commit murders in order to then report upon them, just as the JPJ and UVa don't allow murdering rapists to abduct young girls for fun and profit. Just because you are angry and hurt does not mean that you can lash out at anyone and everything around you that you don't like. This is why Gail Harrington is kind of insufferable.

This is all rather easy for me to say, of course, because I am a disinterested observer and not personally in any way connected to either of these tragedies (and they are both horrible tragedies); I can however, see quite clearly that the paper and writer was not in any way abusing the Walton or Romando families, and I think we are all ultimately served far better by knowing what happened than speculating and fantasizing in a knowledge vacuum resulting from denial - hushing up and sweeping under the carpet.

I think an apology motivated by "gee, this tragedy happened inside our little monkeysphere clique, so it's different" is not just wrong, it's actively far worse than any pain and anguish caused by the first story. I think it's caving to pressure from people you know personally; I am more impressed by the original "stepping back" and reporting.

You’re kidding, why even bother? I detect no sincerity in this.
You publish a slanderous piece of shock journalism in order to cash in on a horrific tragedy and then only because of public backlash issue a lame apology.
The original headline was shameful and the article itself is nothing more than an ignorant speculation. There are no authoritative sources referenced in the article and instead of a retraction of the article we are treated to a changing of the headline with all of the “tone of the article” and “lack of context” that you are so sorry about still intact.
I was offended by your article and I am further offended by your lack of respect for my intelligence with this ridiculous attempt at an apology. The original article shows a lack of journalistic integrity and by only changing a headline and leaving everything else in the article untouched does nothing to change my opinion.

Oh, and just to add for all the poor little 'satanists' who gripe about the bad press - you sound a lot like the thug-life-look-a-like-wanna-bees who want to get a charge out of being outrageous and offending and counter-culture shockers of bland mainstream sensibilities and then want to whine and gripe when people point it out and make prejudicial judgements. You guys are ridiculous enough with your "look at me, I'm dark"'re even more insufferable when you then whine about stereotypical labelling. Grow up, you don't get it both ways.

The reason that pencils have erasers is that we all make mistakes from time to time. The ability to recognize a mistake and offer an apology for it shows a level of class that many in this town would do well to emulate. Class isn't about money, you can't buy it. And having piles of money won't give you class. Class is learned and taught by family, teachers and peers.

This letter is class to the 100th degree.

Let's all say a prayer for those lives cut short by this tragic event. And make it a point to hug those you love today.


-"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country— and we haven't seen them since." - Gore Vidal

Folks, you would lower your blood pressures much more if you resolved yourselves to the concept that today's media is for entertainment, not so much for informing. Now call me cynical, but you'd have to agree that today's newspeople, in a rush to be first, run with hearsay, innuendo and opinion to fill space and maximize entertainment value. So don't get so upset when a local story offends you; if this story was wired from, say, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, you'd all be reading about some anonymous kid in Washington as though it were fact and not getting the least bit offended.

Now, unless I missed these details, some more important issues regarding this tragedy:
1. Was there a note left by the shooter and, if yes, what were its contents?
2. Who made the 911 call and could we obtain the recording of it?
3. I have not heard anyone interviewed who expected something like this would happen (i.e., Noah's suicide and/or his killing of others). Is there no one in the wide swath of friends and contacts who saw a red flag or two?
4. Where was Mr. Walton when this occurred?
5. Was there any change to Noah's dynamics/behavior when his mom remarried? It was only sixty days ago...did this have anything to do with Noah's distress?
6. Did Mr. Romando see any red flags in Noah? What kind of contact did he have with his oldest son?

If we really want to get to the crux of this story, I place a lot more stock in the above issues than some kid messing on a Satanic web site. While it was definitely an interesting angle, it did not merit an entire article and a callous headline. But, alas, you are in the entertainment biz , aren't you?

R.I.P.: J.D. Salinger

We may never understand or know exactly why this occurred. As victims of Columbine were comforting those who were victims in Aurora this summer, they even told them just that, don't waste your time wondering what they thought. No matter why they did it, it is key, more communication and resources should be there for all young people, especially those in crisis. There is much more than just this tragedy here - there are many others that mirror it in so many ways.

For those who are angered and upset, channel that in a positive way. Truly, it takes a big person to recognize mistakes, apologize for mistakes made, correct them and move forward. More so than those who will not accept the apology, that is your choice but it isn't up to you to forgive.

I read the original article. The only part that was inappropriate IMO was the discussion of Lily's tumbl blog. Typical teenage postings by a victim added nothing useful. The rest was just fine.

I agree with Red completely . Although I think that the normal reaction to a reporter in essence putting a microphone in the face of the victim's survivors always generates a lot of heat. The press still has a job to do and I think she was fair with the exception Red mentions. But because of the small community it was important that she make the public apology. Liberlace I think the Satanic International Network angle is extremely relevant. Anyone who checks out the site , this Zack black dude, interactions between members and others and claims by former members that they have been bullied to the point of being told to "go kill themselves" recognizes this site deserves primary consideration in reporting and investigation. This has gone way beyond the efforts of you and others to do damage control.

Yeah, I didn't think that the original article was that bad. It was a little sensationalistic, with the Satanist tie-in (the obvious relevance not being Satanism per se but the indication that this young man had anti-social tendencies and was frequenting a website populated by such types).

@Bobby King...I follow you up until the "damage control" thing. I commented before that the SIN seems like a haven for modern day Beavis and Butthead clones. If there is some inference--and this would be pure supposition--that Noah was being cyberbullied on the SIN, that speaks more to something The Hook has covered a lot: bullying. What is more of an issue would be why a 19-year-old was on the SIN in a position to be cyberbullied AND to take it seriously.
When I was in my teens, CB radios were all the rage (you know, Smokey and the Bandit, "Convoy," etc.). And we used to wratchet-jaw with some of the good buddies. Interestingky enough, bullying went on there, with CB-bullies hiding behind microphones to taunt others.
The bullying thing is not exclusive to any Internet site or network of people. What I was saying concerned the fact that reporters these days spend a couple of hours on some notion and create a hypothetical out of it. Someone previous had it spot on: the public's "need" to know has been replaced by the "want" to know, and the Fifth Estate is just pandering to it to sell papers.

R.I.P.: C.W. McCall

Good Grief folks, you get PO'd at the article and PO'd at the apology. I too was upset over the posts about Lily, she was a beautiful talented girl, if we were all judged by our ramblings as teenagers we'd all be in trouble.
Noah did something horrific yes, but it is not the sum of who he was. Expressions of anger will do little to ease the pain of family and friends already dealing with this tragedy.
Liberlace although your questions are good and ones that most people are probably asking they are also ones once answered that will not change a thing. My parish is reeling, teenagers are grieving and a wonderful man lost his entire family~let it rest! Please for all of us hurting and muddling through move on to another news story. Allow us to say goodbye and move through the days ahead while our hearts try to heal.

Unfortunately, As it turns out, This action was the sum of all Noah will ever be. All his kindness, all of his laughter, all of his love, wiped out in one horrific act of madness. The rest of the victims were merely taken before reaching the sum of whom they could have been. It's so senseless and tragic, isn't it?

The only quibble I would have with your reporting are the quoted comments of self-styled expert "forensic psychologist", and author Amy Lemley. You gave her the opportunity to raise this Thief into the loser celebrity cult of what's-his-name at Virginia Tech, and those two dirt-balls out in Colorado. That was wrong, and only encourages the next crazy. Let her sell her own books.

@Robert...You're spot-on, and that's the problem here: Internet surfers like Lemley who profess an "interest in forensic psychology" are referred to as more than they are. They are not experts; they are like the guy sitting next to you at the pub exhanging opinions with some mates. I just spent some time researching edging stones for my yard; is Bob Vila going to quote me on his show?

I find it interesting that one person quoted in an article was an actual forensic psychologist from UVa (labeled as a nationally-known expert) who stated that previous mental illness or behavior and family dynamics are typically the biggest factors in murder-suicides. Surfing websites and spouting dark posts are not usually an influence.

For people to even cite Columbine or Virginia Tech is such a stretch. First of all, we do not know what occurred with Noah's situation; we know a lot about the other two incidents. Secondly, the two events occurred at schools where no family members we killed; this incident occurred amongst family in the confines of the home. I am sure that, when and if this is successfully dissected, the dynamics of this event will indeed be apples to the other oranges.

R.I.P.: Dylan Klebold

This comment will likely be deleted, but...its more of a letter to the author of these articles than anything else.

I know that this page is for an apology to the family, but NOTICE HOW SHE NEVER APOLOGIZED TO THE SATANISTS ~

Of course.. no christian wants to apologize to the Satanists that were insulted by that piece of writing. It wasn't even acknowledged...and it never will be. In the eyes of Christians, satanists aren't real.. and when anyone kills [who was involved with satanism in an open way, or in their private lives] that's the ONLY time satanism is ever mentioned in the media, and its never mentioned in any kind of good [or decent] light.

News flash: Satanism is real, most people are misinformed on what it is, and most people also don't realize that it is a LEGALLY RECOGNIZED religion/philosophy [cf, the Army Chaplain's handbook]...and also, most don't even consider to think that here in America we have what is known as Freedom of Religion. We should also have the freedom to live our lives the way that we want according to law, [or to respect the dead] regardless of their religious choices here in america. Sadly this is often not the case.

I wish that the media would stop treating Satanists as if they are slime. Many Satanists are decent people and we are human beings too, and we have rights just like christians do. How would you like it if the only mention of your own christian religion was used to grab a headline or to portray someone in a negative or questionable light? What if your religion was used as a punchline, or used as a strawman argument?

If america was a place where islam was the dominant belief, you surely wouldn't want people to write about you or your family or friends as if they were dirt just because you are not islamic. What if your religion was made to be a scapegoat?

More people have killed or have died or committed violent crimes or started wars in the name of the christian god than have in the name of Satan.. and that's a fact. If you are ever in doubt of this fact, then please read into sociology, particularly the kinds of books that explore violent religious crime and their motivations. By and large you will find that most of these books discuss monotheistic religions like christianity and islam. You will only find THREE books published by sociologists that deal with Satanism. I would suggest that you read one of them: The Satanic Panic by Jeffery S. Victor.

And another ''fact'' that many Christians here may not realize:
Most Satanists come from a Catholic background. That's because Cathlocisim is the largest denomination in Christianity and when people leave that religion and turn to Satanism, many of them come from a Catholic background. It was rather funny to hear the comment in the other article that this person came from a catholic background so

Another FACT is that many new Satanists come to Satanism because they feel LET DOWN by christian culture. There are many who come to Satanism seeking the kind of personal power that just isn't offered in Christianity. Some ar eonly dabblers and don't take Satanism seriously enough as it is. Others get involved for friendship or socializing in ways that Christians just could never offer. Maybe this person could finally be HIMSELF instead of lying to himself and to others. Its a shame that he turned to others instead of confiding to his offline friends and family though, but it is often the case with teens and young adults who now live in a world that is bigger, badder and more dangerous than ever before.

Teens are saddled with so many responsibilities today that it's no wonder that in this day and age some of them turn to violence to relieve the inner suffering that they can not share with others for fear of being seen as weak or un-manly. Young men especially have it bad, because in this christian dominated culture, a show of emotions and getting close to other people is seen as something effeminate and such things are always compared to being gay, which is largely shunned by christian culture.

So they are taught to hold their feelings inwards. For children who never had a stable homelife or for those who are emotionally unstable themselves, this is a recipe for disaster. Often, psychologists blame the young adult in this instance instead of looking at the family life as a whole, and noting that people who have good parenting skills often are able to turn out children that are emotionally stable and ready for life.

In the end this apology page shouldn't even exist. Are you really going to use the name of Satanism to grab a headline or to sensationalize a subject and then apologize to the family for it? Can't you see how you've discriminated against another religion, insulted the people that are involved with it, and then insulted again by apologizing to the family as if Satanism were something embarrassing to be involved in, or is a joke?

Respect for the family is understood. Religious discrimination is rude and it is unconstitutional and not only that, it is UN AMERICAN

If anything you should apologize to the journalism community for your piece of yellow journalism that displaces the facts in favor for that which sells. Since the 1980s, and the Satanic Panic, journalists have used this tactic because it works.. but shouldn't journalists report the facts and use journalistic integrity instead?

Also the level of denial from family and friend that Noah was a Satanist isn't surprising. perhaps they think that years of catholic school, weekly church meetings and even baptism will prevent a person from ever associating with Satanism but that's just not the case. The fact that he spent enough time researching Satanism to find the SIN site, and that he hung around in a Satanic chatroom and had satanic friends as well suggests that his interests were with Satanism. And if they didn't know enough about his life to know that he was a Satanist then perhaps they really didn't know him at all. And that's most likely because in a catholic family, he would have been DISOWNED like so many other catholic families do when they find out a relative is a Satanist.

Don't believe me? Try interviewing some Satanists and see how hard it is to be in that religion when they are faced with constant judging, criticizing, condemning, being made to feel guilty and various other things that tears families apart just because that person decided to make their own independent choices regarding religion. Many Satanists have been disowned by their families just for their religious choice. That's how hard it is for us. Add to that religious discrimination from the media and everywhere else and you'll have a glimpse into what its like to live the life of a Satanist.

"As a community, our fundamental concern is how to prevent this type of violence," says Amy Lemley -- Perhaps Ms. Lemley should acquaint herself with the gun-toting, bible thumping christian society that raises young men here in america to be tough and ready to join the army to fight for our nation. Perhaps that has something to do with it, rather than blame Satanism or movies or games or TV. Its also interesting to note that most people who have been involved with Satanism who have been involved with murder are influenced more by christian beliefs on Satanism than from Satanism, itself. For instance, suicide is often frowned upon in Satanism but if a person wants to make that choice then it is their choice. they often face much less guilt and self-loathing than what Christianity offers young people today and unless they are mentally unstable to begin with, will likely find Satanism to be life-affirming and embracinig of healthy self esteem, an involvement with the arts, self-education, and generally a feeling of welcome and wellbeing..Simply put, Satanists enjoy life in the here and now and really have no need to hate themselves, to hate others or to hate life itself. But, like every other religion, if a person enters into a belief system and they have psychological problems to begin with, their experience will be influenced by their mental health. This is in contrast with variations of the christian bible, who's verses suggest that murder is all right when it is done in the name of their god, it teaches about animal sacrifice [and in one instance, human sacrifice], that revenge and murder is OK if you are the god above, that stoning another person is allowed, that people should be allowed to have slaves, that a woman who is raped has shamed her family and should forced to marry her rapist and have the baby.... and various other things that would be considered to be immoral, horrible and insane if they were looked at according to today's standards [and laws]. If in doubt, please refer to the book that is called ''holy bible''. Whats so funny is that nowadays, Christians counter these facts by saying that the bible is interpretable, and that the explanations fit the reality [instead of the reality fitting the explanations!] Aside from the violence in the bible, there is also christian culture. Look at their possession movies and what they teach about Satanism in those catholic christian schools [where molestation seems to be swept under the rug, conveniently!]. They teach that Satan is the embodiment of all that is evil, and that he will posses people and make them murder others. Really, the most horrible things are said about Satanists, right from Christian's mouths, and it is all a lie. Youth are very impressionable, and if they have it drilled into their head that there is some evil being out there that makes them responsible for doing bad things, then don't be surprised, Ms. Lemley, if there are people who are mentally insane who cling to those Christian beliefs regarding Satan, who act out theirs insane fantasies at the cost of their own lives or the lives of others. At this point, Ms. Lemley, it would be wise to ask, Why do people kill in the name of Satan? The only real answer is because Christians who are mentally insane are taught by a Christian society that its what Satanists do. Christian society teaches the most horrible things imaginable regarding Satanism. You need only read the propaganda in the media from the late 70's to the early 90's [yes that long ago] to hear horrid stories about Satanic cults. This era was known as the Satanic Panic, and after it had been around for some time, sociologists studied it and determined that the stories from the panic [confessions brought about by suggestive hypnosis], and as each claim was investigated, it was revealed that there really were no cults after all, that no one had been tortured and murdered and that it was all a lie. People still believe these lies today. You can't expect Christians to be an authority on what Satanists may or may not do. That's because they are Christian, not Satanists, and they care only for promoting their own agenda. Perhaps the way to prevent this violence is to not teach our children beliefs that frighten, intimidate, demean and belittle children as they grow up so that when they are adults they can treat themselves and others with more respect. That means not teaching a child Christianity or any other religion until they are of legal age to make that decision for themselves. It is very possible to raise a child to be responsible, self-loving and loving of others without indoctrinating them into a religion where all the choices are created and made for them ahead of time as if they are all supposed to fit into a mold. Also stop making mental illness something to be ashamed of, and stop treating it like its the work of the devil [like they do to some children here in America, who are treated with exorcism instead of being given the medicine and counseling from a psychologist or psychiatrist that they need]. Teach people to respect each other, regardless of what religion they are, as well. that would end much of the misunderstanding and misery in this world.

@localsatanist Too long. Could not read.

The practice of Satanism is not protected under freedom of religion because Satanism is not a religion. Religion is defined as the worship of God, not the worship of Satan.

@Somebody - utter and complete nonsense - Freedom of Religion means freedom of conscience - and that includes freedom from religion as well. In other words - you aren't required to pick from a pre-approved, officially sanctioned list of Abrahamic Gods. No matter what kind of fake history of David Barton's you "believe" in.

I think the Satanists are about as silly as the Sky Daddy worshippers, but then I've been touched by his noodly appendage...Arrrgh!

Very well written apology, although personally I didn't see much wrong with the first article. I find it shocking how many people disregard the young girls Tumble account as irrevelent towards how she was in real life. If that was her account and her postings that was how she was feeling. Also to disregard the young man's association with that website and that it could possibly be associated with his actions is ridiculous. It may not have had anything to do with his actions but it could have had everything to do with his actions, we will probably never know. So many people claim to know who those young people were, how they acted, and how they felt yet how often do you see people such as close friends and family members that people know extremely well do things and those people are shocked. People only let you know what they want you to know about them and a lot goes on behind closed doors.

I hope that the family finds the peace that it is looking for because this was surely a tragedy.

@non-resident-ta...If you don't like the definition of religion, just change it to suit your ideology. Sacrificing children to Satan (or killing your family) could be completely acceptable under freedom of religion if we all had that ability.

Under Satanism, apparently you are allowed to act upon your impulses and you shall be free from scrutiny or punishment when you do so. So given that, Noah had the green light.

The result of living in a small town. Journalists here are more accountable to their neighbors than are those working at larger outlets, so the consequences of their writing are felt in their day to day lives in ways that someone writing for the Washington Post(even local news) does not have to deal with.

I would guess it is why none of the local papers write restaurant reviews anymore. You get restaurant news and promotion, but nobody in a town like this is doing critical reviews of restaurants--it might hurt feelings and damage relationships with community members(chefs, owners, servers and more) to say that a restaurant does a horrible job.

Like it or not, an intra-familial tragedy like this involves a human story that should be told. It would be wrong to bury this as a "gesture of respect" or whatever to the late deceased, if for no other reason than, in the telling of what happened there may be lessons and warnings to others. There is probably much more to know than the young man may have dabbled in "satanism" and other such stuff, and it's hardly likely he was just a random lunatic and more likely there were pressures in his life that drove him to such extremes. It appears to me the article was rushed into print far too fast for it to be a good job and it should have been allowed to "mellow" for a few weeks.

As a person who has dealt with a family suicide(my 15yr old nephew a year ago) it is hard to understand the WHY but to add in the murder suicide thing makes it all the more a mind numbing experience.Questions do need to be answered but for now grieving should be done.

I want to read about local murders and other horrific crimes, and if Ms. Stuart's pieces explore and speculate a bit, GOOD. That's exactly what I want to read in crime reporting.
Let 'em boycott The Hook, but don't apologize again to these creeps.

This apology is unnecessary. Where have we all gone wrong where we cast blame on the one reporter in town who is actually trying to find out what happened in this case? Talk about the Charlottesville press sweeping it all under the rug.

People are villifying the author more than Noah. It is the craziest thing I have ever seen. Here was a young man, reportedly funny, kind, together, and close to his family, and then this absolutely horrific act. Why?

Everyone involved should be asking questions. What led up to this? Why were there so many guns in the house? Let's try to catch something like this earlier so less people have to die. What a waste of four lives. It's unthinkable and worthy of investigation. Keep going!

While I applaud Courteney Stuart's sensitivity to the emotions of the community, she has nothing to apologize for.

The original article was grounded in facts and highly professional. What it had to tell us was deeply upsetting, of course, but Courteney Stuart was only doing her job. We need reporters who will tell us the truth, especially when we wish the facts were different.