By Del Quentin Wilber and Lisa Goldberg The Baltimore Sun March 24, 2001
(Eastern Shore, MD) - The mother of two children killed by her estranged husband on the Eastern Shore in 1999 filed a $20 million federal lawsuit yesterday alleging that Maryland State Police and Howard County officials should have done more to prevent the deaths.
The killings of the two children focused attention on widespread flaws in the state's protective order database - a system designed to prevent people from illegally obtaining handguns.
In this case, Richard W. Spicknall and his wife were involved in a divorce and custody battle over their children in 1998 in Howard County Circuit Court when Lisa Marie Spicknall applied for and was granted a protective order. The Howard County sheriff's office entered the protective order into the state database but inadvertently removed it, allowing Richard Spicknall to buy a handgun in early September 1999.