Prosecutors Portray Birth Mom as 'Master Manipulator'
Posted January 26, 2007 6:41 a.m. EST
Updated January 27, 2007 6:26 p.m. EST
Allison Quets, 49, of Jacksonville, Fla., faces federal charges of international kidnapping after she failed to return Holly and Tyler Quets, both 18 months old, after a court-approved visit in December.
During a probable cause hearing, defense attorneys asked that she be placed under electronic house arrest, but Judge James Gates was worried that Quets is a flight risk and a danger to the children psychologically.
"We still do not believe that Allison is any flight risk," said one of Quets's attorney, Bruce Mason, after the hearing. "And we do not believe she is any danger to the children, especially."
Gates also ruled the prosecution has a strong case on many levels, finding that Quets was deceptive and had no regard for the justice system. He emphasized, however, she is innocent until proven guilty.
Quets, in a gray-and-white striped prison jumpsuit, cried before being led out of court and taken back to the Wake County Jail, where she has been since early this month.
Federal prosecutors on Friday called her a liar and a master manipulator who was obsessed, unstable and had developed an elaborate plan to take the children.
On Aug. 24, an FBI agent testified, Quets got passports for herself and the children. Friends of Quets told prosecutors she had thought about going to Denmark in the belief that it does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
In October, Quets and her boyfriend, John Gurley, drove the streets near the Needhams' Apex home for several days, prosecutor John Bowler said. She also tried to obtain the children's medical records and made a credit card payment to a Canadian immigration lawyer, he added.
Prosecutors said Quets also might have planned a test run in an attempt to take the children. They pointed to plane records from Dec. 1, which suggest she took the twins to New York City and took one of them to Ottawa on Dec. 2.
Gates also heard evidence that Quets, on Dec. 18, submitted her resignation to her employer, Lockheed Martin, where she had worked as a computer engineer. She told her employer she was going to work for the Orlando, Fla., school system.
After she fled with both twins to Canada on Dec. 23, Bowler said, Quets told border authorities there she had rented a house there for two months.
Prosecutors also suggested that Quets has narcissistic personality disorder and that she telecommuted to work because she did not get along with coworkers. They said she cared only about getting her way.
But another of Quets's attorneys, Dennis Sullivan, portrayed his client as a loving mother who was only concerned about her children's welfare.
Sullivan said Quets was pressured by Gurley, a relative of the Needhams, to give up the children for adoption and that she had a contract on a new townhouse in Florida, which was proof that she had no plans to permanently leave the United States.
Friend Marianne Leman testified that Quets was devastated by the adoption, had been researching adoption laws in Canada and was planning on taking the children there after the adoption appeal was settled.
If convicted, Quets could spend three years in prison and face a $250,000 fine.
Mason said he planned to appeal the judge's bond ruling next week.
"Although we're disappointed, we know this is just one more step along the way in Allison's fight to regain her children," he said.