The Repository on Monday received an unsolicited letter appearing to be from James Mammone III, who sits in the Stark County Jail waiting to face three charges of murder. The letter explains Mammone's motives in killing his two children and former mother-in-law on June 8.
See the actual letter sent to The Repository
“I am writing to set the record straight regarding any questions and misconceptions ... ”
The six-page letter, scrawled in pencil on sheets ripped from a yellow legal pad, begins with those words.
More shocking are the claims that follow and the name at the end, signed three times: James Mammone III.
Mammone, 35, of Canton, sits in the Stark County Jail, charged with aggravated murder and facing a death sentence if convicted of killing his two children and his former mother-in-law in June.
He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is set for January.
The Repository received two unsolicited letters Monday that appear to have been written by Mammone. They came in one envelope identifying them as inmate mail. A jail supervisor confirmed that Mammone had sent a letter to the newspaper.
The main letter dealt with Mammone’s case. The second letter comments on another, unrelated homicide.
The writer, claiming to be Mammone, doesn’t deny responsibility for the killings with which he is charged — “I would not do anything so drastic without owning up to it,” the letter states — and tries to explain his motives in a lengthy essay that condemns his ex-wife, society, courts and the media, and calls divorce a tool of Satan.
“Yes, I know, I stand on a very high soapbox for being a murderer,” the writer admits.
Authorities say Mammone fatally stabbed 5-year-old Macy Mammone and 3-year-old James Mammone IV. Police found them strapped into child-safety seats in the car Mammone was driving.
Mammone’s former mother-in-law, Margaret Eakin, 57, was shot to death in her Poplar Avenue NW home.
Police have said Mammone confessed to the June 8 killings, saying he wanted to hurt his ex-wife, Marcia Eakin, following their divorce, which was finalized in April.
The letter claims that Mammone never gave investigators a reason for the killings and that they didn’t ask.
Then it tries to explain why he killed his children.
No good comes to children whose parents divorce, and Mammone wasn’t going to allow their safety and innocence to be compromised, the letter states, although the writer doesn’t specifically say what endangered the children.
“I did not wish for harm to come to my children, but I concluded there was no other way to ensure they were going to receive to proper spiritual care they had been promised,” the letter states.
After the children’s deaths, Mammone became enraged and went to Eakin’s home, where he killed her, according to the letter.
“While I confess to being totally without just cause for needlessly murdering Margaret Eakin, I still feel as though I did the most merciful thing I could do for my children (based) upon the conditions of their environment, and the bleak outlook of the future they were to face,” the letter states. “If the public is outraged over the loss of my (children’s) life, then I beseech them to not let Macy and James die in vain!
“Stop getting divorces!
“Stop breaking up your (children’s) homes!
“Stop making vows to God that you aren’t (willing) to keep!”
ATTORNEYS DECLINE COMMENT
Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett declined to confirm or contradict the claims made in the letter.
With the case pending, “it would be improper ethically for me to do that at this point,” she said.
The defense wasn’t saying much, either. They’ve already said in court filings that Mammone doesn’t wish to discuss the case with anyone without his lawyers being present.
Sending letters isn’t “part of our legal strategy, but a client has free will and can choose to either take or disregard the advice of counsel,” said Derek Lowry, one of Mammone’s attorneys.
George Urban, an attorney who has served as a spokesman for Marcia and her father, James Eakin, declined to comment on the letter.
A regularly scheduled pretrial conference on the case is set for Wednesday before Stark County Common Pleas Judge John G. Haas.
In addition to the murders, Mammone is charged with breaking into the Canton Township home of his ex-wife and trying to set fire to a truck parked outside.
The letter mentions nothing about those allegations. At the end of the letter, the writer comments on Mammone’s “smirking” jail photo. The photo was taken a year prior to his arrest.
“I assure you all, I looked considerably more melancholy the morning my children lost their lives,” the letter states.