Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Slain professor's son tries to wash away the pain of his mother's death

SPRING HILL — Streaks of his mother's blood were smeared across the bathroom's white tile floor. When Raymond Carter saw it Sunday morning, her death, at last, felt real.

But that image, he decided, wouldn't become Maria Osterhoudt's memory. Not for him or for his family or for her.

So, in the room where authorities say Osterhoudt's husband, Alan, fired a bullet through the back of her head Saturday night, Carter took a mop and a green and yellow bucket, and he scrubbed the tile. When that wasn't enough, he knelt down on his hands and knees and used a towel. Beneath a silver cross tacked to the wall just feet from where his mother died, Carter cleaned the floor until the memory was gone.

Alan Osterhoudt Jr., Carter's stepfather and the man he called "dad," has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail in the Hernando County Detention Center.

After the killing Saturday night, authorities say, Osterhoudt called 911 and told a dispatcher he had done the most heinous thing in his life. He smelled like booze when deputies arrested him. The 61-year-old soon asked for a lawyer and refused to give detectives any information.

Osterhoudt, Carter said, was an alcoholic and had been for years. He mostly drank Budweiser and was fine when he did. Liquor, his stepson said, changed him. It made him aggressive, obnoxious and mean, Carter said. He had never seen Osterhoudt harm his mother, though. The hostility had always just come through his words, never his hands.

"I never thought that he would ever hurt my mom," Carter said Monday. "That damn alcohol was his demon."

Osterhoudt's other hobby was guns. He owned more than 100 of them, Carter said, and was an avid member of the National Rifle Association.

The air-conditioning repairman was, in many ways, oddly paired with the woman he had been with for the past two decades.

Maria Osterhoudt had worked as a professor of computer and web design at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College over the past 11 years. She earned a bachelor's degree from a college in New Jersey and a master's from the University of Florida. On campus, they called her Professor O.

The 65-year-old was a painter, a jazz pianist and a singer. A Suzuki grand piano sits in her living room. In her youth, she loved the Supremes and even auditioned with her friends for Showtime at the Apollo.

"It didn't go well," said her son, smiling. "They got stage fright."

She adored dogs, especially her 2-year-old border collie/beagle mix, Bo. She took him to the dog park every day. He followed her everywhere, even protecting her body from authorities after she was killed.

"He replaced me," Carter said. "He was definitely my little brother."

A devoted Christian and member of Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church in Clearwater, she was scheduled to lead a black history program there the day after she died.

Her favorite saying was, "I've been truly blessed."

She adopted Carter, 34, in South Carolina when he was 2 years old. They moved to New Jersey after he turned 6. Maria was married at least two times before Osterhoudt, Carter said, but she raised him alone.

"She was the strong one in the family," said her niece, Delana Clark.

She worked three jobs in the Northeast for years, running real estate and tax companies and doing marketing jobs on the side.

Then, when Carter was a young teenager, she met Osterhoudt in a bar. They didn't get married for a decade, but they always enjoyed each other's company.

The couple argued, he said, from the beginning. Carter believed his stepfather was jealous of her success and intelligence, but still, they made the relationship work.

Around Christmas, the two went on a 14-day Caribbean cruise. They both raved about the trip.

Carter last spoke to his mother Friday. They discussed her retirement party, scheduled for May 14. Friends were coming from all over the country to celebrate. Maria asked her son to find a DJ. She was elated.

Carter wasn't sure what Maria would have done in retirement. Stayed busy, he knew, and probably traveled, spoiled Bo and done more gardening, a hobby that always made her happy.

She already built a pair of gardens on the side of her home. One held roses. At its center, she planted a flower known as a "Peace" rose. In full bloom, it shines a light, creamy yellow, her favorite.

Its petals were gone on Monday; at the end of its stems, only withered, brown buds remained.

Reach John Woodrow Cox at (352) 848-1432 or

Slain professor's son tries to wash away the pain of his mother's death 02/27/12 [Last modified: Monday, February 27, 2012 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer


    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Editorial: Turn the heat up on AC problem in Hillsborough schools


    Hillsborough County School District students do not want to hear that their buildings are decrepit. They do not want to hear that Florida's legislators are complicit. All they want to hear is the sweet sound of a classroom air conditioner kicking in at full power. Anything less creates uncomfortably hot classrooms and …

    Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the current Hillsborough County School Board did not create this air conditioning mess, but they own it now.
  3. Man in bunny mask part of trio that breaks into Odessa McDonald's to haul away ATM


    ODESSA — A man in a bunny mask and two also-masked accomplices broke into a McDonald's early Wednesday, hoisted an automatic teller machine into a stolen minivan, then dumped the ATM and the van into a pond, deputies say.

    Three masked men, including one in a bunny mask, broke into an Odessa McDonald's early Wednesday and stole the ATM.
 [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Plan your weekend Aug. 25-27: Craig Morgan, Wearable Art 13, SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest


    Plan your weekend


    Pete Davidson: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Expect to hear about his recent trip to rehab, since he's known for his confessional …

    The 12th annual Wearable art Fashion Show was held at the Dunedin Fine Art Center on Saturday evening, August 27, 2016.
DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times
  5. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]