Brace's children now with accused killer's parents
Grandmother of children asked to pay for supervised visitation
The mother of murdered Washburn woman Casey Brace is speaking out about difficulties she has had in seeing her grandchildren, two of whom have been put in temporary custody of the parents of Brace's accused killer.
According to Washington County (Ark.) Circuit Court documents, Springdale residents John and Mary Paschall filed temporary custody paperwork in Arkansas for Alli Paschall, 2, and Braxton Paschall, 4. A week after Townsend was granted custody in Missouri, an Arkansas judge ruled Paschall's parents should get custody, per the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
The act says because Brace and her children had not lived in Missouri for at least six months and established residency, the Arkansas court retains jurisdiction. Brace had moved to Washburn from Springdale about four months before she was killed, and after the alleged murder, Alli Paschall was taken to Mary Paschall's home.
It was at that home in Springdale where Christopher Paschall was arrested without incident about four hours after allegedly shooting Brace and her grandfather, 76-year-old Herbert Townsend. Brace died at the scene, and Townsend succumbed to his injuries at Cox South Hospital in Springfield.
Brace's eldest daughter, Sydney Klingensmith, 10, is now with her biological father in South Carolina.
Paschall is being held in the Washington County jail on charges unrelated to the alleged double-homicide. In Barry County, he is facing charges of first-degree murder, a class A felony, first-degree assault causing serious physical injury, a class A felony, and armed criminal action, an unclassified felony. His bond has been set at $1 million.
In Arkansas, Paschall is facing felony charges in relation to items found at his mother's home at the time of his arrest, including a glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine and 19 firearms, two of which police say were stolen from Washington and Madison counties in Arkansas. His bond on those charges is $100,000.
Townsend said ever since the John and Mary Paschall were awarded temporary custody, seeing her grandchildren has been a chore.
Townsend said Washington County has stipulated she must pay $25 per hour for supervised visitation of the children at the office of attorney Victoria Morris in Bentonville.
"[John] and Mary offered to pay for two hours per week for visitation, but it's not about the money," Townsend said. "It is an insult to me the courts would ask that. That's what's wrong with the court system is it's all about money.
"I'm already out $7,500 in retainer fees and I only made $14,000 last year, so that's half of my income I've spent in less than a month since my daughter was killed. It's great the community is trying to help us, but the court system keeps bringing us down."
Townsend said she refused to pay the visitation fees because she feels it makes her seem like a criminal. She has, however, taken up the Paschall's offer of paying for two hours a week.
"I did take them up on the offer because I do want to see my grandchildren," she said. "But, we are supervised like we are criminals and did something wrong."
Townsend said she believes Christopher Paschall killed her daughter solely to get custody of the children.
"Two months before Casey was killed, Christopher said to me that I wouldn't have enough money to fight him in court for his kids -- and it looks like he's won."
Townsend said she has filed in Washington County to intervene in the custody battle, and a court date for the matter has been set for April 1.
Along with difficulties seeing her grandchildren, Townsend said the courts and attorneys are attempting to shift the focus away from Paschall and onto her son-in-law Justin Trammell.
Trammell, at the age of 15, pleaded guilty in juvenile court for the Sept. 26, 1999 death of his father, Michael Trammell. Justin Trammell served nearly three years in a juvenile facility before being released and put on probation at age 18. In 2004, he was found in violation of his probation for two charges, one on public intoxication and another on domestic battery.
He completed his sentence when he turned 21 in 2005, and he was the first defendant sentenced under Arkansas' blending sentencing law, which allows a judge to combine juvenile and adult penalties for certain offenses. The law was enacted after shooters at Jonesboro Westside Middle School could only be sentenced as juveniles for killing four students and a teacher.
"They've label [Justin] the crossbow killer because he killed father in a heated argument," Townsend said. "Even the Barry County prosecutor wants to know where he was that day, and I think Christopher is trying to point finger at [Trammell]. He has done his debt to society. He is a good father, has a family and is carrying on with his life, and they need to drop that and focus on the real killer, who is sitting up there laughing because his parents have custody of my grandchildren.
"They need to let sleeping dogs lie there, and Braxton and Alli adore him. And, every time we go visit the kids, they ask if Justin will see them. "
Townsend said instead of questioning Trammell's whereabouts, the courts should put more focus on Mary Paschall.
"I'm throughly convinced she helped [Christopher] out," Townsend said. "[Mary] always has a sick obsession with the kids calling her mother instead of grandma."
Townsend said since her daughter's death, emotions have run high.
"I love my daughter and grandkids and always been there for them," she said. "We don't have much in life, but we were happy, and Casey would be rolling in her grave to think her children are separated and being raised by that killer's family."
Those wishing to help Townsend may do so online. A Facebook page, entitled "Casey Brace and Herb Townsend Memorial Page," has been set up to honor Brace and Herbert Townsend.
A page has also been set up at www.gofundme.com/jrb1hw, which helped Townsend pay for funeral costs and is still active to help her pay for legal fees and support her grandchildren. As of Sunday, more than $8,200 had been raised by 51 donors.