LEXINGTON, KY (Feb. 20, 2014)– The man accused of shooting his ex-wife following a bitter weekend child custody dispute has waived an extradition hearing, paving the way for his return to Indianapolis.
Christopher Justice surrendered to police in Lexington, Kentucky, Wednesday for the attempted murder of his former wife Shirley Justice.
Ms. Justice was gunned down in the parking lot of a nort hside daycare as she dropped the couple’s child off Tuesday morning.
Justice fled after the shooting and was convinced by relatives in Indianapolis and Lexington to surrender.
A homicide detective from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department conducted a search Thursday afternoon of Justice’s car in an attempt to discover the gun used in the shooting.
Shirley Justice remains in critical condition with bullet wounds to the head and chest.
Fox 59 News has reviewed court paperwork that indicates the couple was locked into a bitter custody dispute over their daughter.
When Shirley Justice failed to return the child to her ex-husband Saturday night, Christopher called IMPD to complain.
“Mr. Justice had paperwork. Mrs. Justice had paperwork,” said IMPD Lt. Chris Bailey. “They seemed to conflict with each other about who had custody a the time so the officers provided advice based on our practices and what Mr. Justice could do as a remedy which was to speak to his attorney.
“On at least one occasion, a supervisor actually spoke to Mr. Justice about his issues concerning this custody issue.”
Bailey said an officer also contacted a detective with the IMPD Juvenile Division who advised him that, as a civil issue, the department could not make an arrest of the mother or seize the child.
Christopher Justice’s custody attorney told Fox 59 News that a judge issued an order favorable to her client that may be in conflict with a similar order issued by another judge that was favorable to the girl’s mother.
“The judge entered an order…that gave my client sole legal and physical custody,” said Jennifer Bays Beinart. “The mother did not return the child at which time we wanted the child back due to the danger the mother imposed on this child.”
In court documents the girl is described as, “autistic, non-verbal.”
“I personally was worried,” said Bays Beinart. “In fact, I contacted the police when the child was not returned and tried to get police assistance to transfer the child back to my client and was told that they could not do anything. It was a civil matter and would not get involved.”
As the emotional custody battle played out from Saturday night through Tuesday morning, Bays Beinart prepared a motion asking for an emergency ruling to return the child to her father.
The court system was closed for the Presidents Day holiday Monday. As Bays Beinart was filing the paperwork Tuesday morning, she received word that her client was wanted for the shooting minutes before of his ex-wife.
“He’s not a monster,” said Bays Beinart. “He’s a distraught father.”