Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Drugs, discord way of life at household where girl accused of setting mom ablaze

CLEARWATER — The rough seams of custody hearings, police calls, arrests, drugs and violence thread through Nancy Broadhead's life like a curse, starting when she was just a year older than her own daughter was when police say the girl tried to burn her alive on Tuesday.

In her own words, from a deposition in a 1989 custody hearing over her son, Brent, Broadhead said she started trying to leave home when she was 12. She ran away, but was brought back home to her mother. She started smoking pot. She had been arrested, she said, more than once by the time she was 15.

Her 11-year-old daughter, who is not being named by the St. Petersburg Times because of her age, created an online persona on MySpace.com that seems entangled with many of the same themes of substance abuse and domestic discord that have dogged Broadhead throughout her life.

The girl and 15-year-old Jack Ault, whom she described as her boyfriend, face charges of arson and attempted murder.

On her page, the girl posted pictures depicting herself as "high," closeups of her bare midriff and a marijuana leaf image.

Her site was laden with profanity — as was Broadhead's household when she was younger.

A revealing case

Nancy Broadhead, 48, gave birth to son Brent in 1985. The father, a man named Marvin G. Geizentanner, would wage a years-long custody battle with Broadhead that raged throughout most of the boy's childhood.

"Have you ever heard Brent call his father (expletives)?" an attorney asked during a custody deposition when the boy was 4.

"Sure. People sit around the house all the time calling each other (expletives)," Broadhead said.

Later, Broadhead said her son was afraid of his father. In a petition for a protective order on behalf of her son, in July 2000, she said her son had run away from home "fearing for his life."

Broadhead wrote to the court that her son had been "physically and mentally abused … repeatedly" by his father.

Broadhead did receive a temporary injunction, but a month later a judge refused to issue a permanent injunction because of insufficient evidence.

According to court records from the late 1980s, Geizentanner worried about how Broadhead was raising their son.

Barbara Broadhead, Nancy's mother, said in a 1989 deposition that it was common for her daughter to drive with her baby while intoxicated.

Those events would be a prelude to one of her later arrests. She was pulled over the night of July 4, 2002, according to Clearwater police records, accused of driving drunk with her then-4-year-old daughter in the car.

Barbara thought Nancy had a drinking problem. Geizentanner would sometimes call her to help remove his son.

"He wanted the baby out of there because Nancy was in no condition to take care of him," she said. "It's more or less traipsing around and dragging him with her, whether it's day or evening or whatever, and I don't think a child that age should be handled that way."

She thought about seeking full custody. In 1990, she would take over raising the boy for a time.

A history of drinking

In November 1988, Nancy Broadhead spent a month in a detox clinic. She attended more than 20 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings along with Geizentanner, whom she lived with before he kicked her out for breaking a window after she returned drunk from a Huey Lewis concert.

After detox, Nancy lived with her mother for a short time, but her drinking soon resumed, Barbara Broadhead said. Nancy would stay out until 3 a.m. sometimes, and other times not return home at all.

"I could just look at her eyes and know," she said in court records. She asked her daughter to leave, and she did.

Nancy Broadhead moved in with a mechanic she had recently met. He told her his name was Frank Lucky. He was 38 or 39 — she couldn't remember.

They didn't have a relationship. But they did hook up.

"Once," Nancy said, shortly after she moved in with him after he started fixing her car.

He was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1989, the Klan held a rally in Arcadia. She drove there with Lucky and a friend. Brent was in the car.

They didn't spend much time together, though. Broadhead didn't even know what Lucky's position with the Klan was.

"It's grand — its almost like poobah," she said of his title.

Money problems

Money woes have dogged the Broadhead home.

For most of her life, Broadhead worked as a waitress, at restaurants like Oysters, Etc., and Pappas' Restaurant. She earned less than $300 a week, mostly in tips. She worked nights sometimes, and said in a deposition that she used mail-order amphetamines to make it through long shifts.

According to records, her house in Clearwater entered foreclosure on Dec. 22.

Police cruisers outside the house have been a familiar sight.

Within the past year, Clearwater police responded to seven calls, not including the fire Tuesday, at the Broadhead home at 1580 Huntington Lane.

On Thursday, police released reports generated by three of those calls. Though heavily redacted because of the girl's age, they refer to a runaway juvenile who refuses to come home, holes punched in the wall and marijuana in plain view.

Only under rare family circumstances does a child attempt to kill a parent, experts say.

Kathleen Heide, a professor of criminology at the University of South Florida, said there are only about 100 cases of children slaying their parents each year.

"When you have a girl accused of killing or attempting to kill a parent, it's very, very rare," said Heide, who has researched and written books about juvenile homicides.

The families are usually fractured. The killer usually involves a child who is severely abused, antisocial or mentally ill.

"Clearly, there's no question that this girl needs help," Heide said.

Times staff writer David DeCamp contributed to this report.

Drugs, discord way of life at household where girl accused of setting mom ablaze 12/31/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.