McCallum tries to prove he took the kids because mom was abusive

February 28, 2013
McCallum shows a document to the court.

McCallum shows a document to the jury.

By Lisa Enos

MCP Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – The court heard more testimony Wednesday in the trial of Mark McCallum, who was arrested under a Mason County warrant in Key West, Fla. last year on charges of parental kidnapping. Witnesses were directed by McCallum, who is acting as his own lawyer, to answer numerous questions about the bruises on his son, which he claims were the result of abuse by the child’s mother, Sharon Kludy.

Through the course of his questioning, McCallum tried to find evidence of misconduct in the investigation of the alleged abuse of his then 3-year-old son. The reason the abuse is so important to McCallum is because he is trying to prove that he drove the kids to Florida to take them out of harm’s way.

While it has not been determined whether McCallum will take the stand, the jury was shown a video recording of his initial interrogation, which occurred March 8, 2012 shortly after McCallum was extradited back to Michigan from Florida. McCallum appeared very shaken and sorrowful as he was interviewed by Mason County Sheriff’s Department Detective Sgt. Tom Posma, who remained polite, gentle and calm.

Trooper Seymour

Trooper Seymour

McCallum behaved in a cooperative manner and described some of the events leading up to his leaving for Florida, including a time that he said his wife slammed the son into some hard tile to punish him. He also said she would yell a lot, sometimes alone in a room with her computer, which was frustrating her.

“All I know is my life’s over with. I’m 52. My wife wants everything. She threatened me, she said I would never see the kids,” said McCallum, offering an explanation of his behavior, which also involved him taking items from some of his seasonal Hamlin Township neighbors who he acted as a caretaker for, including the Chevy Tahoe in which he drove the kids to Florida.

McCallum said all he wanted to do was take his kids on vacation.

Why Key West?

Both McCallum and Kludy told Posma that they had taken family vacations in Key West before. Kludy provided Posma with the name of a hotel she believed McCallum could be staying at — the Blue Marlin — where McCallum was then apprehended with his kids.

McCallum told Posma that he was looking for someone in Florida who he could leave the children with so that he could come back and deal with his case. He indicated that he had spent a lot of money on a lawyer who he felt sided with his ex-wife, and that he was having financial difficulties due to the divorce.

“You are the product of many different circumstances that are beyond your control,” said Posma.

McCallum appeared genuinely concerned for his kids’ well being and wept as he described the manner in which his children were taken away from him by police officers in Key West.

“Those police were so cruel. My kids were screaming for daddy, daddy, daddy,” McCallum told Posma.

“I was in hand cuffs. They wouldn’t let me calm my kids down. They were screaming.” McCallum said.

But a statement McCallum made during the interrogation revealed another problem, “You get married to a woman you think you know, then she finds out about your past, then she goes around telling everybody I’m a convicted felon,” McCallum said.

“She went to my whole family. I didn’t have a relationship with my dad for 18 years, and then I did again and she went to him and now that’s over.”

Det. Posma

Det. Posma

The defendant’s state of mind was addressed by Judge Richard I. Cooper Tuesday (while the jury was not present) in relation to a mock prison fence McCallum erected on his property. McCallum also placed a sign in his yard with Michigan State Police Trooper, Sammy Seymour’s name on it and another that read, “Child Protective Services.”

Seymour took the stand Wednesday and answered many questions about his investigation of alleged physical abuse of the McCallum boy, particularly about the length of the bruises found on McCallum’s son’s thigh. He said the three bruises were 2, 3 and 4 inches in length.

It was never determined through the course of the investigation what caused the bruises and Child Protective Services made a decision not to investigate the matter further. Seymour testified that as per protocol for unsubstantiated claims of child abuse, the video tape of the three year old child’s interview and some of the other records were destroyed.

At one point at the onset of the trial Judge Richard Cooper told McCallum that it is he, not the system that is on trial, but that hasn’t stopped McCallum from trying.

At the end of Wednesday’s trial McCallum produced a document which was not shown to the prosecution during the discovery process. The document was allegedly drafted by CPS worker John Breitner. The document states that the bruises were measured and were 8 inches in length. If the document is permitted as evidence, McCallum may have an easier time convincing jurors that his children were in immediate danger and his trip to Florida was, in fact, warranted.

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