Husband kills wife, tells his son via text, then takes own life

Rowlett Juvenile Judge Belinda Loveland was killed Sunday evening, the victim of an apparent murder-suicide by her husband.

Loveland, 52, was found dead in her home on the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard. Her husband, Richard Loveland, 59, was also found dead.

Police said their son – Dustin Loveland, a doctor in Galveston – called 911 after he got a text message from Richard Loveland, shortly after 5 p.m.

“I don’t know how to tell you this,” the message said, “but I think I just killed your mother.”

Rowlett police went to the Lovelands’ home in the 3200 block of Sunrise Drive. They tried and failed to make contact with anyone inside. Eventually, they sent in a camera-equipped robot from the Garland Police Department.

A SWAT team entered the house about 9 p.m. and found the couple dead.

“It appears that Richard Loveland shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself,” said a Rowlett Police Department statement.

No information was provided as to a motive for the violence. The police investigation continues.

Friends and family who gathered at the home Monday afternoon declined to comment.

City Manager Lynda Humble arranged for grief counselors to be available at the municipal court. She called Loveland “a very good judge who made a real difference in the lives of many of Rowlett’s youth.”

The Lovelands were married in 1982. Dustin Loveland is their only child. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Belinda Loveland graduated from Texas Wesleyan University law school in 1998. She worked closely with students in the Garland school district. In 2003, she created Reaching Our Community’s Kids, or ROCK, an after-school mentoring program for at-risk youth, which helps about 150 students per year, according to the city.

“Her death is a tragic loss to the city of Rowlett as an organization as well as to the community,” Mayor John Harper said in a statement Monday. “Judge Loveland cared deeply about helping the youth of our community.”

Tiffini Miller said she felt an immediate connection with the judge when she interviewed for a position as juvenile case manager with the city late last year.

“She had passion and vision,” Miller said.

Parents who dropped their kids off at ROCK summer camp at Coyle Middle School on Monday morning were invited to stay with their children as grief counselors and volunteers broke the news.

Miller, volunteers and two dozen of the middle school students then wrote letters to Belinda Loveland, thanking her and expressing their feelings for her.

At noon, volunteers took the campers for lunch and bowling, an outing that was planned weeks ago.

Retired court administrator Marilyn Harrison stopped by to commiserate with other friends of the judge.

“ROCK was her idea,” Harrison said. “She did a whole lot of it with her own money in the beginning. She went out and got donations, too.”

Beyond her court role, Belinda Loveland also practiced juvenile law, serving as children’s advocate in custody and other legal cases. She was also municipal judge in Fairview, where court is usually conducted monthly.

Harrison said she was a frequent visitor in the Lovelands’ home and saw no sign of trouble.

“He adored her,” Harrison said. “And she adored him.”

ROCK staffer Clayton Lowery said Belinda Loveland was a powerful figure in his life and one reason he is thinking about law school after he graduates from Louisiana State University.

“She was the greatest impact on my life as a mentor,” he said. “One of my greatest friends, someone I could always talk to. She was always honest.

“I’m just confused. I never, never thought anything like this could happen to her.”

Staff writers Erinn Connor and Ian McCann contributed to this report.



~ by thmjklmstrymn on June 23, 2010.

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