Saturday, January 9, 2010

Royce's Testimony

Royce Briggs was called to the stand.

Royce stated that Lance was his son and that he had been married to Kathie for 26 years.

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about his observations of Lance.

Royce raised Lance since he was 5 years-old

Royce stated that Lance was “rambunctious”

Royce stated that Lance was “full of life”

Royce stated that Lance was “a good kid”

Royce stated that Lance loved Royce like he was his dad and Royce loved him like he was his son.

Royce cried throughout his testimony.

Royce stated that Lance was “high-spirited” “full of life” “happy” “energetic.”

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about Lance’s attitude. Royce stated that he was “hard-headed at times, but a good kid.” Royce stated, “He looked forward to the life ahead of him.”

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about conversations about him being a father. Royce stated, “He wanted to be a dad.”

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about Lance after October 11, 2005.

Royce stated that Lance was in Georgia at the time that Kelsey was murdered and Royce wanted to “fly down there” and tell him what had happened in person.

Royce stated, “He had been injured in Iraq and… [with all that happened with Kelsey]…we tried to keep information from him.”

My note: Lance started crying before hearing started.

Royce’s entire testimony was through tears – very heartfelt.

Royce stated that Lance flew home the next day or two days later.

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about his observation of Lance. Royce stated, “It ruined him” “the spirit he had” – Royce talked about how Kathie had made welcome home signs that said, “welcome home hero” and then Kelsey was murdered. Royce stated, “He was just a mess.”

Lance’s counsel asked how Lance found out about Kelsey’s murder. Royce stated that Lance called from Georgia. Royce stated that he had talked about Ashley getting divorce and now Kelsey was gone.

Royce stated, “Kelsey’s spirit was gone and the same thing happened to Lance.”

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about Easter and holidays. Royce stated that Lance tries to be a part of it. He goes to birthday parties and there is a difference in him. Royce broke down as he described how it was hard to see his son, a guy so full of life…and then he sobbed.

Lance’s counsel asked Royce about Father’s Day. Royce stated that no holidays were good for Lance.

My note: Raye has told me many times about how Lance hated Kathie’s parties. He would make excuses not to go because he didn’t want to deal with the drama that always happened at them.

Cross-examination by Jones

Jones asked Royce why he never adopted Lance

Jones stated, “Lance’s father committed suicide and his stepfather never adopted him.” Jones asked how that affected Lance and his problems with anger.

Royce stated that Lance had no trouble with anger, assaulting women, or alcohol.

Royce stated, “No more than the average teenager” when asked about Lance’s drinking.

Jones asked Royce about Lance’s use of drugs. Royce said that Lance didn’t use drugs.

Jones asked Royce about the animosity between the Briggs and the Smiths. Royce stated that Kathie had no problem with the Smiths.

Jones asked Royce about Kathie abandoning Lance and how that affected him. Royce stated that Kathie didn’t abandon Lance.

Jones asked about Kathie being under a DHS treatment plan with her children while they were in DHS custody for two years. Royce stated that Lance didn’t know his real dad.

Jones asked why the Briggs didn’t give DHS contact information for Lance. Royce stated that he didn’t know how to contact Lance while he was in Iraq.

Jones stated that DHS asked Kathie for contact information during the same phone conversation Lance called Kathie while on the phone with DHS and Kathie didn’t tell them how to contact Lance. For months of litigation they didn’t know how to contact Lance.

Royce stated that he did contact Lance.

Royce stated that he thought that they would have Kelsey, but then she was “taken away.”

Royce stated that Lance knew some information.

My note: Royce stumbling when asked about what Lance knew

Royce stated, “At times we didn’t know how to handle the situation.”

Royce then stated that Lance went to Iraq sometime in the spring of 2005. “Lance left to go to New Jersey in March and came back and then left again.”

Royce then stated that at times he knew how to reach him, but at times he didn’t.
Royce stated that he could contact Lance while he was in the U.S. Royce stated that he had contact information for him “most times” but at other times he didn’t.

Jones asked Royce if Ashley knew how to reach Lance. Royce stated that she didn’t.
Royce stated that Lance was injured in Iraq.

Jones asked Royce why Lance was in Ft. Benning after Iraq. Royce stated that he thought it was for “debriefing.”

Royce denied that Lance was in rehab during that time.

Jones asked why Royce thought Lance wasn’t in rehab. Royce stated, “It’s in his records.”

Jones asked Royce if he had access to Lance’s records. Royce stated that he had “no access” to them.

Royce was dismissed.


  1. Why do you feel the need to editorialize? Royce "stumbled." I've heard you allege that Lance was in rehab, previously. Military records are not open to public review. Where is your proof of what kind of rehab he was in?

  2. These are my notes in full and my observations. I wasn't able to write fast enough to take down word for word. He did stumble and stutter. Is that better?

    As far as the rehab, I'd have to look for the notes from his sister and his friend who both said he was upset about his divorce and that he had his gun taken from him and he was being watched in the facility. That is a fact.

  3. I know this FOR A FACT:

    IF Lance was depressed because of his divorce and he had to have his weapon taken away from him, HE WOULD NOT BE ADMITTED FOR THAT IN REHAB... They would admit him into a psych ward. But before that, he would be given the option of meeting with the Chaplin of his Unit or he would be referred to ABH. (Adult Behavioral Health). If he was severely depressed, he would be on watch for a set time in the barracks... ONLY IF and I mean ONLY IF he had expressed an attempt or had attempted suicide, then He might be admitted for psychiatric care. Otherwise his upper chain of command would refer him to ABH with a chaperone.

    I would seriously call into question what was told to you... Not because of anything your posting... I understand it is all you have to go on... But I have talked about this particular thing with a SSG, 1SG, a CC and SM and this is Army wide... Not particular to one post or another... Army wide.

    You are right Mary, Lance's medical records are sealed, regardless of why he was in rehab. That's just not a military thing. BUT, his chain of command has access to certain aspects of it. Good luck trying to get them to release those records and Lance doesn't have to either.

    But I can guarantee you, IF Lance was in some sort of facility for rehab, it was NOT over some depression about a divorce. There are steps that need to be taken in any Unit regardless of who it is. I know what I'm talking about. Ft. Campbell is one of the worst posts for spousal abuse, beatings, rapes, murders and especially soldier suicides... Ft. Campbell is one of the worst posts in the Army for depressed soldiers and I know how the Army deals with it.

    I am not saying Lance has to answer for anything. He doesn't. He is entitled to keep his military career private for any reason. Im just saying if he was in Rehab, it wasn't for depression and if he was admitted into a psych ward, thats not rehab... Two completely different options of help.

  4. All I have is what Lance's sister and friend told us. I do know for a FACT that because Lance made death threats toward the head of DHS and his family and Judge Key and his family from what was termed as a "mental institution" that the threats were taken seriously by the local authorities.

  5. I can't speak for how civilian officials would or would not react to viable threats. I can say that Lance's Unit and his upper chain of command would have final say.. Lance would have to be interviewed by CID and his unit before being committed, willingly or not...

    Like I said, you're just going off of what you had been told...

  6. Can you prove or post proof that he made death threats?? Hearsay wouldn't count..

  7. Told by his sister and his friend. I have their original e-mails.

    Craig Key's book, "A Deadly Game of Tug of War: The Kelsey Smith-Briggs Story" page 91.

    "I forced myself to go to work the day after Kelsey died. The last thing I wanted to do was deal with people's problems, but I felt obligated to do my job. The sheriff called me into his office that afternoon and informed me they had talked to Lance Briggs the night before to tell him of the death of Kelsey, and that he was in Fort Benning, Georgia. The sheriff indicated that Lance was in some type of a treatment center, and that Lance had made threats against my family and me.

    At that point, the sheriff was concerned because he told me he had spoken to people who were concerned with Lance's mental instability. The death threats that were made had come directly from Lance. It was a threat against my children, as well as the supervisor for DHS and his family.

    'I don't put much stock in that. He's just upset and talking irrationally.' I responded. But he told me there was little or no doubt that he had a fear for my children's lives and he wanted to put a deputy outside of my house and for me to get my children placed away from home.

    Death threats on an attorney or a judge occur on occasion. Typically, they are not taken seriously. However, what convinced me to take action as a result of this threat was when I received a call from an OSBI agent, who confirmed with the sheriff had told me. DHS received the same information regarding Lance's threat. In order to protect their staff, the office of the Inspector General was dispatched to the Lincoln County DHS office. I knew of Lance's past history of domestic abuse, and with his current mental state, I chose not to take a chance with my family..."

  8. Craig's exact words to me were that Lance said to the head of DHS, "I'm going to break into your home and kill you and your family." The threats against Craig and his family were the same and were relayed to Craig through the OSBI and sheriff.

  9. Please be sure of your wording. There is a big difference between being in the psych ward of a military hospital and being in rehab. Especially when you don't specify what kind of rehab he was in. As for Judge Key, you make him out to be a martyr. I may disagree with the way Lance said it, but he was a father in pain over the abuse and murder of his daughter. If you could post the email from his sister that states what type of facility he was in, I would be grateful.

  10. So then what you are saying is it is ok that Lance threatened the lives of a family, children included? I just want to be sure why we are excusing the behavior of death threats. I can understand being upset,devastated and in pain but to pick up a phone and start making death threats to children is inexcusable, wouldn't you think?

  11. "Jones asked about Kathie being under a DHS treatment plan with her children while they were in DHS custody for two years. Royce stated that Lance didn’t know his real dad.".... royce doesnt really answer this question, does he. because he knows why kathie did what she did to her kids.