Family abuse? On Primetime's eve, woman files on Abshire

Justine Swartz Abshire was left to die on an Orange County roadside five months after her May 28, 2006 wedding to husband Eric Abshire.

A year and a half after the discovery of Justine Swartz Abshire's body on a lonely Barboursville-area road, and with no arrest made in the case, her parents are hoping an ABC Primetime special airing later this month can do what their $50,000 reward has not: crack the case.

Meanwhile, Justine's widower, Eric Abshire, finds himself accused of abusing another woman, but he claims innocence in both cases and hopes the nationally aired program will help clear him of suspicion.

"Whoever did this to my wife is sitting around without a worry in the world," says Abshire. "No one is looking at them because every focus is on me."

That focus is in large part a result of statements made by Justine's parents, Steve and Heidi Swartz, who in May 2007 first publicly questioned Abshire's account of events on the night their daughter died. Among their questions: why would Justine, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher whom they describe as a "homebody," and who had a well-known fear of the dark, have gotten out of her car on a deserted winding road in the middle of a cold fall night? Why would she have left her keys, purse, and winter jacket in the car? Indeed, why would she have been in her car in the first place?

Abshire, in a phone interview this week, said he and Justine argued that night about his ailing mother's health and his inability to express his feelings.

"I made a smartass comment; she made a smartass comment," he says. Then, as he has long maintained, Abshire repeated that Justine left their small cinderblock home on Fredericksburg Road in her 2002 Mustang. She allegedly called him on her cell phone sometime after 1am to say her car had broken down and that she needed a ride. When Abshire arrived on his motorcycle to pick her up, he discovered her body in the middle of the road, then ran to a nearby house to call 911.

At first, police treated the case as a hit and run. But as the investigation progressed, some disturbing details emerged. One of the most unsettling: Justine's injuries were not consistent with being struck by a car.

In May, state police revealed that Justine suffered a "massive" number of blunt trauma injuries. None, however, corresponded to a car's bumper striking her legs– the so called "strike marks" expected in a hit and run.

Neither police nor Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler have offered a theory of how Justine may have died or a motive for why she may have been killed.

Abshire says he is as mystified as everyone else.

"Nobody would dislike Justine," he says. "If you meet one of those people everybody likes, that was Justine." Living under a cloud of suspicion has been brutal, he says, not only for him but for his family.
"I can't even sit there and grieve my wife," says Abshire, "because I have to worry about what my children are going to hear."

One thing Abshire likely wishes his children wouldn't hear is recent news that their mother filed for an emergency protective order against him. The June 5 order prohibited Abshire from having contact with the woman, who asked not to be named in this story. Filed in the Greene County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Stanardsville, the document states that "reasonable grounds exist to believe that [Abshire] has committed family abuse."

Abshire blames it merely on a "misunderstanding" and a "miscommunication," and insists that the woman never actually felt threatened. The woman who filed the complaint declined the Hook's request for comment and apparently did not seek a hearing to extend it. The protective order expired June 12.
Citing court policy, a clerk in the Greene court would not release the criminal complaint detailing the incident behind the order.

"Unfortunately," says grieving father Steve Swartz, "we can't say we're surprised by it. We certainly don't want to see anybody else get hurt."

Officials are aware of the order, according to Special Agent Dennis Dotson of the State Police, and the investigation into Justine's death hasn't slowed.

"There's not a day that goes by that I'm not looking into something on it," says Dotson. "We will find out what occurred, no matter how long it takes."

While the Swartzes remain unsatisfied with Abshire's version of events, they insist they're open to all information– in particular, to any that could vindicate their son-in-law.

"If there's any other circumstance surrounding this that we don't know about, we want to know about it," says mom Heidi Swartz. "The best way to do that is to get the broadest possible coverage in hopes that we'll learn something we didn't know."

The hour-long ABC Primetime special on the case airs July 30.



I am glad to see that you are now requiring email addresses on this website. I cannot help but notice how your responses are non-existent now that there may be accountability to the information posted here. How interesting.............Come on people, give us the good stuff! You seemed to possess such a wealth of knowledge about this case and the people involved. What happened? Are you afraid someone may come knocking on your door after you put your derogatory and defamatory comments here? Hmmmmmm.........How appropriate......

To the point, I would like to put a little information out there for the people reading this article to ponder. Anyone living under constant suspicion and question is going to be stressed and going to have moments where life is too stressful to handle. I would say that Mr. Abshire certainly qualifies for that. How can anyone not expect him to over-react to situations that occur in his life?
Also, the term "family abuse", is a very broad term. The use of this term does not mean that violence definitly occurred. So, before everyone rushes out to gossip with their friends and family, please know that you don't know the details and you won't know the details. Thank God for that.......but we all know you will probably gossip anyway. What else can you do? It is so refreshing and enjoyable to discuss other people's problems and shortcomings, rather than focus on your own.
Lastly, how nice of the hook to commisserate with the children of Mr. Abshire, as they highlight them in this article. Ah, what journalists they are.....

Dear Mr. Adshire. Heard of Scott Peterson! He too protested his innocence. Now he is on dead row for killing his wife Luci. In almost ALL cases of murder. The killer is someone close to the victim. Enjoy your freedom while you can.

Ok- so does anyone know if Abshire has taken a polygraph? If he is truly innocent and had nothing to do with his wife's death then why would he not just take a test?

If you read previous press, you will see that despite numerous requests form Justine's family, he refuses to take a polygraph. why is he afraid of the truth?

"One thing Abshire likely wishes his children wouldn't hear is recent news that their mother filed for an emergency protective order against him. The June 5 order prohibited Abshire from having contact with the woman, who asked not to be named in this story."

So, did the Abshires have children? Did Ms. Abshire (may she rest in peace) file a protective order? Or has another woman, with whom Mr. Abshire has subsequently been keeping company, filed the order?

The questionable newsworthiness of this particular story is further obfuscated by lack of clarity.

Well, the lack of ability to read undoubtedly obfuscates the comprehension of Confused, who can't figure out that someone who was found dead more than a year ago could hardly have "recently" filed anything, including a protective order on June 5.


During polygraph classes (CID) and later in the field, in conversation with very competent box operators , I was often advised, "if you are ever asked to take a polygraph (except for mandatory job testing, (clearances, etc) the only sane answer is no". I can`t remember hearing of any law enforcement or other investigative type individual, in trouble, taking a poly.

The results will not prove innocence, guilt, or guilty knowledge and the results may give faulty indications and result in false leads to investigators (probably the worst result).

Iterpretation of graphs depends to a great degree upon the machine operator - not always the best individual in whom to place ones` confidence.

- One man`s experience for what it is worth.

Hey Juicy,

You obviously are a bit too dense for sarcasm.


Dear Enquirer Reader,
Where is all this anger coming from? Why must you get up on your soap box and spew your vial ignorance? I hope Eric is squirming in his skin. He has done NOTHING to help this case move forward. If anything he's hindered this case. Statistics show that when a woman is murdered 3/4 of the time it's her spouse or boyfriend. I don't think a poly is the answer, but he's just not very forth coming and it smells fishy. The people who knew and LOVED Justine are the ones who have the right to get angry. Remember that will ya?

Dear Allie,
I will start by saying that I feel deeply, deeply sorry for everyone even remotely involved with this tragedy. I certainly want, as much as anyone, for the truth of this matter to come to light.
That being said, My comments were far from ignorant. I DO feel that this website is simply a place for vicious gossip and it seems that most of the truly ignorant people are no longer posting their comments. If they knew a fraction of what they purported to know, they should have been discussing it with the proper people. If their information is valid, they should certainly post it now, when there is a way for the authorities to track them. The fact that they are not really proves my point.
My frustration with this article stems from innocent children being discussed and carelessly brought back into something they have no control over. There was simply no reason for that. That is not ok, no matter who is doing it.
From this point, I will not engage in any on-line banter with you. That accomplishes nothing. Just one last observation: You seem to have your own anger issues. They are there because you cared about Justine. Put your own emotions aside for a moment and think about two innocent children. The people who love those two children have their anger issues as well. They have as much, if not more, of a right to get angry as you do. Please do not presume to believe that Justine's friends and family own the market on grief secondary to this tragedy. You do not.

To the person who seems so obsessed with the Enquirer:

People are, and have been talking to the authorities for a long time now. The truth will come out soon. Obviously the authorities can find out who is posting on here, and presumably have been able to do so since the first article came out. There is no reason for them to post confidential information on this blog.
I am sure we know who you are, and I can understand why you have "anger issues". And no, Justine's friends and family do not own the market on grief, but we are certainly the only ones working hard to get this solved and find Justice for Justine.

Maybe his children welcomed the protective order. If you read the authors language, it says "family order" hence, one should conclude it is not just one person but a family. Trust me, there must have been sufficient evidence to obtain said order against Eric.

Also, when reading the story above, it appears as if Eric goes on to place blame for his lack of grieving on his children. Stating, ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??I can't even sit there and grieve my wife,¢Ã¢â??¬ says Abshire, ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??because I have to worry about what my children are going to hear.¢Ã¢â??¬

Eric, quit worrying about what your kids think. I am sure they know the truth. Trust me they are not reading these types of articles unless you are suppling them. They are much to young obtain these articles. By the way, it is my understanding they loved Justine. And if that is true, I am sure, they would like to see justice.

ok every one i want to say some thing for and to eric i have known this child, since he was born eric is a fun loving and deeply caring person with morals and standards that most young people doesnt have today he came from a home where he and his brother was loved with every thing that ed and alice had eric loved justice that way i was there with them in that little cinder block house the thankgiving bfore she died watching eric and justice fix dinner for his father and i i saw the love as he picked on her cooking the loving the touching the lauther as we ate they were in love i had never seen that look in erics eyes except when the babys were born eric please hang tight i feel in my heart that god will help all of us get through this and i pray every day for mr n mrs swartz i love u eric i love justice i know shes in heaven with my dad i have the candle she got me for xmas in 04 i will always treasure it as i do her and her love for life nd humanity justice may your killer b caught so u eric and your parents and ed and jesse can finally breathe without hurting

I just watched the abc series on Justine Swartz Abshire's unfortunate death. My prayers go out to her parents and sister that with time God will heal and ease their pain of the lost of a daughter and sister. Nothing is worse then a parent having to lay their child to rest. I have never had the pleasure of meeting her, and have heard of the supicious circumstances of her death since I moved to Virginia a few months ago. For Mr. Eric Abshire, if you truly have a clear concisous then please for justice for your beautiful wife, help the police and her parnets find the truths surrounding her death! By not being forth right in general it can make you look supicious in the situation.

I will pray every night that God will help the authorities find the real truth of her death, so that all that knew and loved her will finally have peace and that Justine can finally rest in peace!

May God Bless all involved in this case!!

I just saw the special on abc and in my gut I think Eric did it. The whole time I watched it just seemed fishy and not even consistent with the bullcrap that came out of his mouth.

My question for Eric is: what did she say was wrong with the car when she called him and what did she say she was going to do until he got there to help her--look in the trunk? walk to a neighbors house? Did they check her cell phone for fingerprints when it was found at the scene?

Having also just watched the ABC special on Justine's death, I can't honestly say the show helped the case at all. At no time during the hour did ABC present anything that would convince me of Eric's guilt or innocence. It did however, seem that ABC wanted to present Eric in a guilty light. Just the difference in the background music while he was on camera suggests that the show angled towards his guilt. The only result of the show is responses such as Elizabeth's, a simple mind manipulated to believe what the producer's of the show wanted her to. I wish for the sake of Justine's family and friends that the truth does come to light, but don't feel that the news story will help to that end.

We were neighbors of Heidi and Steve Swartz when they lived in Jackson, TN. We have witnessed their agony and heartache over their loss of their sweet, gentle Justine.

I watched the ABC program tonight. Heidi and Steve and Lauren did a beautiful job for their Justine. Hopefully, there will soon be real answers to what happend that night on November 3, 2006.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Justine.I hope that justice will be found for Justine and that her loved ones will someday be able to go forward with their lives knowing that she has been vindicated.Some thoughts regarding the cell- did they check to see which tower that the cell call came through that night? Also, let's see, Eric, you had your cell phone, was in communication with her to go pick her up, and then drove out in the middle of the night, on a country road, and "forgot" that you had it with you when you discovered her body? That's just one area that you've slipped up on...but don't worry. Eventually, you and/or whomever you've done this with or told, will get a little too drunk and that's when you'll get caught. Until you finally act like a "MAN", and confess, I hope that you'll spend every day waiting on the cops to show up at your door. And if you never give Justine the justice that she deserves, may you burn in Hell.

To "Barbara Mc Carthy"- BY THE WAY, HER NAME IS JUSTINE, NOT JUSTICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, carefully observing husband's behavior while "over answering" many of the questions made by this evening's Prime Time Journalist caused me to think, "Darlin' thou doth protest too much"..... I think they'll soon be able to find that one little missing piece of evidence on him and finally be able to charge this guy.

No mechanical errors on car? This guy reads too many comic books. I guess he just thought nobody would check this out? It's hard to figure fast when panicked after killing someone.

200 yards from the car at 1am on a dark road? (I'm no wilting Lily but my doors would have been locked)

Leaves her on the road? I guess he knew that no cars would be coming by. Gee, how did he know that?

Doesn't use his cell phone because he "forgot" he had it on him? He should have given this one a bit more thought. We often "forget to take our cell phone" but we rarely "forget we have our cell phone". He could have said anything BUT I "forgot I had it".... I mean, she did call him on it, didn't she? Wouldn't he need it in case he couldn't find her on that old back road? or to call the tow truck? um.....but forgot he had it on him? .... I don't think so, Eric.

911 call from a nearby house? Was this his brainy tv cop show idea of gaining a witness?

Admitted history of anger & assault? oh. But his anger only rears it's ugly head with "men only".


Grieving husband sleeps with another woman? Oh right. He needed consoling in his grief.

Boasts a bit of "Player Pride"? Oh right. Past Players are rendered inoperable due to marriage certificates.

No signs of "hit & run"? I guess he missed CSI the week they analyzed the "hit & run" victim (it had slo mo and everything.... smoke coming off wheels & mud flying in molasses speed..

Witnesses to angry fights with Justine? What size shirt does that guy wear, anyhow?

Wounds inconsistent with being struck by a car? Pathology is very accurate these days, he should have checked this out a bit more thoroughly

His brother the first to arrive at the scene? huh? Another Rhodes Scholar. Must run in the family

Wonder if they found the extra bike helmet that would be needed for her to ride home with, or did he forget that, too?

The problem with stupid people is that they assume the rest of the world is stupid as well.

I can't believe the pain Justine's family has been made to endure in the aftermath of this unbelievable tragedy, And my love and prayers go out to them. I have no doubt that Eric and his creepy ass little brother have every thing to do with this and they should be made to suffer 100 time's more to pay for this horror!

Trust me, I grew up in that area and seen and heard lots of stuff in that area, I doubt she died there - but was put there... lots of things went on that the cops and sheriff that were never "taken care of properly" ... then again I grew up with Johnson as sheriff... even he protected a drug dealer and rapist son... It'll take outsiders to solve this. people talk and people there know the truth... but I doubt we'll ever know the real truth, to many people won't get involved.

Eventhough I don't know anyone involved and live miles away I was still drawn to Justine Pictures as I watched the television screen. My deepest sympathies go out to Justines family I know all too well what it is like to loose someone you love under suspicious circumstances. My prayers are with you...

I'm on the fence on this one, no things don't add up, but think about this. It would take a pretty sick individual to premeditate beating someone to death and organize the cover up. If they got in a fight and it was accidental, then he could not have come up this much of a plan that quickly. Where are the phone calls asking Jesse for help for the cover up? Was her TOD not consistent with Eric's timeline? She had defensive wounds, so wouldn't Eric show signs of a fight? He says he was at home so didn't she call the house phone? IIRC she hated the bike, does he even own a second helmet? IIRC the bike is usually kept in a storage unit so he had no choice if the car was not there. As far as leaving her in the road, aren't you not suppose to move someone after an accident? Don't you think he left the bike in the road w/ the lights on so he could see her?
After last nights show, I have to wonder did it go down just as Eric says, and in between the phone call and him showing up, did someone else just happen to show up, pull her from the car and attack her? Granted, I have no clue as to what happened to the car or why she was even on that road.
Eric has had some long lasting relationships, have those girls ever spoke up to whether he is abusive to women?
Innocent or guilty, Eric is paying for the crime, he is without a wife, living under constant suspicion, and has to watch his every move so it doesn't get taken the wrong way. Look at the Ramsey's, it's been how long and they finally just cleared the families name, that ruined their lives even more.
Hopefully the truth will come out one day, and I hope both families can heal from this horrible ordeal. As for now I think everyone is to focused on Eric to maybe seek other answers.

The main questions I have is this:
1. When you live within 5-10 minutes of the scene, how did someone else have time to get her out of the car, convince her to walk down the road without a phone, purse, jacket, and etc., then beat her this badly before eric gets there to pick her up on a gsxr600 streetbike of all things and without a extra helmet.
2. Did Eric not plan on giving her a ride back home on the bike since he did not have another helmet. He surely could not carry a toolbox on that type of bike.
3. How come the mother of Eric's children claims to never have met Justine? This is a little concerning since Justine and Eric have been together for a while! The wife has not met the mother of the husbands children in all that time. Very strange, unless something is going on that Justine was not suppose to know or find out about (cheating maybe). Maybe that is what the real arguement was about.
4. Why did all of this take place very close to Eric's home and his brother's house as well? Why was she even on Taylorsville Rd. at that time of the night anyway? Where was Justine going?
5. Why even go down a road that goes no-where in the middle of the night? Espeacially if it does not go back to your house!
6. What was soo wrong with a car that was claimed to be broke down on the road by Eric, but starts up with no problems when the police get there. (very strange)

And finally, to Barbara, if you spent soo much time around Eric, then you must have known how bad his temper was and how he reacted when he was angered or mad. You claim to known him soo long, then why not let the people hear about that part of him.

I hope the family of Justine gets their justice soon. I only met Justine a few times, but she was one of the most pleasant ladys to be around. She was very sweet, and caring.

First of all I would like to send my prayer's out to the Swartz family - father, mother, sister and all of Justine's friends and students, whom I know must miss that precious woman terribly. My thoughts and prayers are for their minds, hearts, and soul's to find the peace that only God can provide. Also that the killer, or killer's be brought to justice soon, so as to ease the pain and suffering of so many.

"What's done in the dark, will come into the light"

I think that eric abshire kill his wife. I watch the show and he looks very guilty. I hope he get life in jail. If, he didn't kill her or have anything to do with the case ; why didn't he take the polygraph test.

Eric, my heart goes out to you, Justine and your children as well as Justine's family. I have known you for about 18 years now. I will never believe that you had anything to do with your beautiful wife's death.I can remember the day you told me you were getting married. How your eyes lit up, you were glowing that day telling me you had finaly found the woman for you. And your girls, I know they were on cloud 9 right along with you. I never got the privlage to meet Justine, Lord knows I wish I had, met the woman who finally took your heart. I know there is alot of people out there who is saying alot of bad things about you and your brother. People always remember the bad things and never remember the good. You will always have a shoulder here.








There is someone out there, other than Eric or Jesse, that knows what happened to Justine. W****, I pray for you every night. I cant even imagine how scared you must be. Please dig down deep in your soul and find the courage to come forward with what you know. You know what time Jesse left the house to go help Eric. There are people that love you and will protect you and the kids from any harm. You need to think about your son and the one on the way. Dont you want more for them then to be raised in this drama? Say what you know, then, get those kids as far away from these killers as possible. You will find a new freedom. ~Peace

ERIC AND HIS BROTHER ARE GUILTY AS SIN!Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding him/herself. Just because someone acts gently or lovingly with their spouse in front of others does not mean that all is perfect. Remember some of the most gruesome murderers were boy scout leaders / heavily involved in church activities/ pillars of the you just never can tell. I pray that there will be justice for Justine. I am sure Jesse's wife or girlfriend knows what happened but is too scared to speak or doesn't want the father of her children incarcerated. The sad thing is that she should tell what she knows so that she can protect her children from the obvious bad influence that their father is...such a sad, sad situation. Perhaps the FBI should offer her witness protection?? If Eric was innocent he would take a polygraph - given by a true expert, not a local cop etc..If he's truly innocent and wants to get on with his life - this would surely help.

Today is a new day... It doesnt matter that you have keep your lips sealed up to this point. You can choose to do the right thing TODAY! W****, The weight of the world is on your shoulders as long as you hold this secret in. Let it out, and the people that love you and care about you are here to help. Just think: If R***** was still here, what would he want you to do? My prayers are with you. ~Peace

Maybe she was beat to death and placed in the road after she was taking out of her trunk that was left unlatched. Then Eric ran down to the storage units where his bike was often kept. He then got on his bike to go back to the scene to play the innocent husband. That might be the reason why he was riding his bike on a 35 degree night. He usually doesn't ride his bike when it is freezing cold outside, so why now. But, he does usaully keep it in the storage units walking distance from Justine's car that night.

On the TV he claimed to have thought his wife was alive on the road when he left her to use a phone (forgetting about his cell-phone), but the statement from both Amber Lamb and her grandmother was, "the man said will you please call 9-1-1, my wife got hit by a car and I think she's not alive." So did he think she was dead or alive? I think he was caught there since he was asked 2-3 times on the show about that question, everytime saying he thought she was alive. And how does a person that runs his own trucking bussiness forget he has a cell phone on his side, I think most of his bussiness is done over that same phone. It almost becomes habit to reach for the cell phone when you have your own bussiness running. Just ask anyone!

Why did it take Eric almost 40 minutes from the time he supposely received the call from Justine about the car, till the time he went for help. It takes about 5-10 minutes at the most to get to the scene from his house, so that leaves 30 minutes of time unaccounted for.

I truly hope Jesse had nothing to do with this, cause it could have been done only by Eric if he still had that storage unit. Jesse talked on the show as if he felt that it was not a hit and run crime, but Eric insist that it was. Something is not adding up here! Why is the thought of your wife being beat to death different than her being killed by a car and left there on the road to die. In my opinion, it is the same crime. Murder!!!!!

Oh' yea, the insurance company will not pay out for anything that was not accidental or natural death. Maybe that's his reason for not wanting to believe that she was beat to death.

I was browsing the culpeper star exponent for something else and I came across this article below. This saddens me.
You have to read the book called Erased, by Marilee Strong. You can check it out at the library. Also the book called Territorial Games, by Annette Simmons.
Maybe these two books can help you understand the violence that happens especially to women as primary target.

ERASED, From Publishers Weekly, by Marilee Strong
In her exhaustively researched account of the Scott Peterson trial and similar cases, journalist Strong (A Bright Red Scream) makes a convincing case that there is a growing number of men¢Ã¢â??¬”whom she calls eraser killers¢Ã¢â??¬”who murder their wives or girlfriends with premeditation and dispose of the body in an attempt to make both the crime and the victim disappear. They kill, says Strong, because the woman no longer serves any 'purpose' in the man's emotionally desolate world, or because he sees her as an obstacle to a life he fantasizes for himself. Strong traces the phenomenon back to the 1906 case of Chester Gillette, convicted for murdering his pregnant mistress and the model for Dreiser's An American Tragedy. Between the Gillette and Peterson cases is a series of gruesome murders that Strong contends were committed by husbands who then staged kidnappings or robberies to disguise the murder or simply stashed the bodies so well that they are never found. Her accounts of various eraser killings around the country are compelling, but none more so than her meticulously detailed examination of Laci Peterson's murder. With its blend of novelistic journalism and concise psychiatric research, Strong's exposÃ?Æ?© will appeal to more than just true crime fans. (Mar.)
Copyright Ã?â??© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. The notorious Scott Peterson (also limned in E Lee Bailey's When the Husband Is the Suspect, reviewed in this issue), tabloid-trumpeted convicted murderer of wife Laci, provides the launching point for Strong's study of what she designates "eraser killing, a form of intimate partner (or domestic) homicide ... committed almost exclusively by men." In eraser killing, the dirty deed is undertaken in such a manner as "to leave behind as little evidence as possible." After laying out the parameters of this sort of homicide, Strong delves into specific cases, from the 1906 case of Chester Gillette, who did in his pregnant mistress, to recent examples. In an urgent style similar to Ann Rule's later writings and Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice TV series, Strong recounts sad story after sad story of heinous male motivations and their effects. Strong on detail, atmospherics, and, without overdoing it, moralistic tut-tutting, she also delivers the gore in a tantalizing manner that true-crime devotees may consider the book's real pay dirt.--Mike Tribby, Booklist. March 1st, 2008

TERRITORIAL GAMES, by Annette Simmons
Simmons provides "names" for this evolutionary adaptation of behavior that we experience everyday such as the strategic noncompliance game, the occupation game, the camouflage game and the intimidation game. Territorial Games defines how behavior in the workplace is driven from physiological, survival instincts that over-power rational thinking. With humor and insight, Simmons reviews the emotions involved in protecting "territory" in today's organizations. The 10 games are reviewed using real-life, painful and funny examples of business situations. The book will aid you in spotting the behavior in others, because "of course you don't do this." Well, you can check that using the self-tests provided for each game. Simmons' practical approach does not suggest that the games will go away. She does suggest that you can understand them better, develop better ways to deal with the games and begin playing more constructive games. Recommended for everyone who has ever felt like they were in a sporting competition, on a battlefield, or playing survivor in the workplace. It certainly provided me with a renewed clarity about law firm dynamics. You are sure to have a laugh reading and recognizing yourself and others. More importantly, this can be a new lens to understanding behavior in the workplace.
To shun someone else in order to establish territory is one of the ten typical "territorial games" that business consultant Simmons intends to define and challenge here. The other acts of workplace "gamesmanship" include occupation, manipulating information, intimidation, setting up alliances, creating invisible walls, strategic noncompliance, discrediting, camouflage, and filibustering?all insidious attempts to deliver a blow, create an obstacle, or confuse the issue. Simmons provides a brief analysis of complex human behavior as an aid in understanding possible root causes for illogical behavior, and she includes real-life examples of typical business situations. She also suggests solid ways of dealing with "territory building" and how to begin playing more constructive games. Readers are likely to find this work hits home with problems in the workplace and helps explain the Dilbert phenomenon. Highly recommended for larger public libraries.?Dale F. Farris, Groves, Tex.
Power, position, property. That's been the name of the game throughout human history. And the urge to gain new territory -- or keep what's already been acquired -- certainly shows up in our daily work lives. The workplace, in fact, is ablaze with battles over information, relationships, and authority -- and everyone is fighting for psychological survival. These turf wars are some of the most productivity- and morale-squashing activities that employees engage in. Territorial Games analyzes 10 of these insidious and instinctual acts of gamesmanship -- such as camouflage ... occupation ... shunning territorial behavior.
Written from the perspective of a behavioral scientist and drawn from in-depth interviews with corporate managers, the book explains how to: ** understand the roots of territoriality
** recognize the signs and symptoms of territorial games
** focus on organizational goals rather than individual turf wars
** promote teamwork throughout an organization
** apply counterstrategies to change destructive behavior.

Muffett's Crime Solvers
Staff Report
Published: July 29, 2008
A one-hour show on the mysterious death of an Emerald Hill Elementary School teacher is expected to air tonight at 10 on ABC's ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??Primetime Crime.¢Ã¢â??¬
Justine Swartz Abshire, 27, was found dead on the night of Nov. 3, 2006, alongside a road in Barboursville, near the Greene County line. State Police originally dubbed the incident a hit-and-run, but new evidence suggests foul play could have been involved.
A video clip promoting the program, titled ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??Justice for Justine,¢Ã¢â??¬ is available at under the ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??webcasts¢Ã¢â??¬ section.
Abshire's friends and family are offering $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for her death.
For more on Abshire's story, go to her parents' Web site at