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Father seeking custody of 4-year-old admits to murder

Child custody exchanges occur each day among thousands of families, usually without any issues. Because of the highly emotional nature of these exchanges, however, conflicts can sometimes occur. Rhode Island parents engaged in a custody dispute can learn what not to do during these exchanges from a man in child dispute over his 4-year-old daughter.

The man, who had been engaged in a child custody battle, recently admitted to murdering his ex-wife. Prior to the murder, the father had filed a custody complaint in which he claimed that his ex-wife left their relationship to be with her boyfriend. The complaint also alleged that the father cared for the little girl after his wife left and that he could provide a more stable environment for the child than her mother.

The court issued a temporary order that the father have custody of the child from 12 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Wednesday.

According to court documents, when the parent's would meet to exchange custody of the young girl, the father was allegedly so confrontational with her mother, including using physical force, and the child would cry. It has also been reported that the father had a license to carry a gun and during at least one child custody exchange, he held the gun openly in his hand while the parties argued. It is also reported that the man had threatened his ex-wife's life by text message.

The father has now admitted to the murder of his estranged wife, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's mother in a driveway. He has been charged with three counts of homicide.

Source: Public Opinion, "Accused killer Kevin Cleeves argued for child's custody in what attorneys call a 'difficult relationship' between Kevin and Brandi Cleeves," Beth Anne Heesen, July 31, 2012

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