King & Cushman Owner Scott King Arrested for Threatening Murder and Violating a Restraining Order
Police arrested the longtime insurance man last Thursday after his wife and a co-worker each said he threatened to kill them. Earlier that day, King’s wife requested and obtained a restraining order that forced the city native to leave the couple’s Florence home and stay 100 yards away from her, court documents state.
By DAVID REID
NORTHAMPTON – In one short day last week, Florence resident Scott A. King saw his life transform from a pillar of the community into a handcuffed arrestee potentially facing 2.5 years or more in jail.
The charges he faces include two counts of threatening to murder two women – one his wife, and the other a senior executive at his family insurance agency – and violating a restraining order filed by his wife.
The Restraining Order and the Threatening Phone Calls
Shortly before noon last Thursday, King – the president and treasurer of King & Cushman Insurance Inc. since 1997 – got a phone call from Northampton Police Capt. Scott Savino.
According to an application for a criminal complaint and police reports filed later that day, Savino told King, 47, that his wife, Cheryl, had obtained a 209A restraining order against him about 11 a.m. that morning from the Hampshire Probate and Family Court.
The order, signed by First Justice Linda A. Fidnick and set to expire on June 13, required King to “immediately leave and stay away from the plaintiff’s residence,” the $250,000 home the couple and their three daughters shared at 95 Pioneer Knolls in Florence, and to surrender all weapons he might own.
According to the police report, King told Savino “that he would be coming to the police department the following day” to pick up a written copy of the restraining order.
But, according to statements in his file at Northampton District Court, King immediately started making phone calls to his wife, in direct violation of the restraining order, and to a top female employee at his business, located at the corner of Finn and King streets.
The Threats of Murder and the Damning Text Messages
The police report states that, when Cheryl called back her husband, King started yelling at her about the restraining order. “She reported that Scott stated, ‘Your life is over! You are going down! I’m going to kill you!’” The report states that King then sent his wife a phone text message saying, “Hope you enjoyed 52 years of life…good bye!”
Within a short time, Cheryl called back her husband in the presence of city Police Officer Brent Dzialo in an attempt to determine his whereabouts, and handed the phone to Dzialo soon after he picked up. But Dzialo reported “Scott refused to cooperate with me and would not provide his whereabouts.”
At that point, an arrest warrant was requested and issued for King from a magistrate at the Northampton District Court.
At 3:45 p.m. that day, city Patrolman Sean Casella met with a female executive at King & Cushman, who said she had also spoken with King. At about 9:30 a.m., she told the officer, King had told her he was driving to a casino near Norwich, Conn. and would be spending the night there. Casella’s report quoted the woman as saying “that King was slurring his words and sounded very intoxicated.”
During that conversation, the woman told the police officer, “King said he would ‘kill’ her, and then began laughing.”
Throughout the rest of the day, the woman told police, she communicated via text messages with King.
In one exchange, included in the police report, King wrote: “My wife has put a restriing (sic) order on me and I want to kill her and the rest of you CUNTS! All of you. . ..
“Spread the word, call the Nton Enquirer!. . .life is so much fun, thanks for everything…all the love, affection, etc!”
The woman texted back to King: “Well…maybe if u agree to get help…”
King replied: “Then life and people will be so grand!”
According to Casella’s report, the woman employee told him that she was “fearful of him showing up at the business and causing problems with other workers.” In a statement to police, she wrote: “I am concerned for my safety and the safety of the staff.”
She told the police officer that she was usually able to defuse any situation with King, but based on his “latest unpredictable behavior,” she didn’t want to take the threats lightly.
The Police Make an Arrest, and a Newspaper Buries the News
That afternoon, police determined that King had registered at the Clarion Hotel on Atwood Drive here, and about 5:45 p.m. saw his black Mercedes SUV parked there. Two officers went to the room and arrested King, who was held without bail until his arraignment the following day.
“He was handcuffed (double locked) and placed in the rear of cruiser 52,” Casella’s police narrative reads.
According to Casella, when he was arrested, King was read his Miranda rights and made no statements about the charges. When told he would be held pending his arraignment, “he told me that he was supposed to play golf in the morning,” the officer wrote.
At a Monday hearing in Northampton District Court, King pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance with the condition that he stays at least 100 yards away from his wife.
King is represented by lawyer David C. Kuzmeski, who could not be reached in time for this report.
If found guilty of the three charges, King could be sentenced to at least 2.5 years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for violating the restraining order, as well as completion of a certified batterer’s intervention program, documents state. The threats of murder, according to police filings, could bring up to six months in prison and $100 fines each.
The content of the restraining order is not public, and it is not known what incident(s) triggered Fidnick’s issuing the 209A order.
In its Saturday, June 2 edition, the Daily Hampshire Gazette published King’s name in its police log, but never stated King’s position as president of King & Cushman. Earlier today, Northampton Media broke the story about King’s arrest and properly identified him on WHMP-AM radio’s Bill Newman Show. (Click here for a podcast of that show, with our appearance beginning near the end of the hour-long program.)
The Who’s Who About Mr. King
King serves as the president and treasurer of King & Cushman, an insurance business started by his grandfather, Franklin King Jr., in Haydenville in 1926. King took over from his father as president of the company in 1997, when his father, Franklin King III, retired (he died in 2006).
King is also the named manager of King Enterprises LLC, the limited liability corporation that owns the business’ headquarters at 176 King St. downtown. King’s father transferred the property to the corporate entity for $1 in 2001.
According to the site Bizfind.us, King & Cushman employs 12 people and does about $1.66 million in business annually.
Scott King graduated from Northampton High School and, in 1987, from the University of Richmond, where he majored in economics. On his Facebook page, King says he likes the music of Rod Stewart, the TV show Two and a Half Men, golf and horses.
King’s business is a contributor to numerous community and sports programs in the city, and he is a member of several civic organizations.
© 2012 Northampton Media
David Reid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org