North Carolina

The crazy tragedy of Susan Newsom & Fritz Klenner

Bitter_Blood_Front_CoverSusan Newsom was a divorcee with two young sons in the 1980s. Her divorce from Tom Lynch was bitter, and the two often fought over custody of the boys in North Carolina courtrooms. Once their divorce was settled, she fell in love, inexplicably, with her cousin, Fritz Klenner.

Fritz was your basic weirdo: he was a gun fanatic who called himself a medical doctor, although he had never attended college, let alone medical school. He had a “medical practice” in Reidsville, North Carolina, when he became intimate with his cousin Susie.

First, Tom’s mother and sister died mysteriously, shot execution style in June, 1984. Then both of Susie’s parents and her grandmother met their fate the same way in 1985, putting Susie at the top of authorities’ suspect list. Susie’s parents had, just before they died, agreed to testify in court that the boys should be in Tom Lynch’s custody.

Their story ended in a horrific car chase, but even then the truth proved elusive. With her sons in the car, Susie and Fritz were fleeing from police, with Fritz firing back at them. Then, he detonated a bomb and killed everyone in the car.

Tom Lynch had the boys’ bodies transported to New Mexico for burial, and he relocated to Albuquerque. He practiced dentistry there until his retirement in 2014. He is still married to Kathy, whom he began seeing during the divorce from Susan. They have a daughter who is in her teens at this update.

Tom Lynch filed wrongful death suits against the Newsom family and the state of North Carolina for the deaths of his mother, sister, and two children. The suits were settled in 1991 for an undisclosed sum. Items recovered from inside the exploded vehicle were auctioned to the public in 2003.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Susie Sharp of North Carolina died in 1996

Find a grave site for James Lynch

Jerry Bledsoe published a book on this case called Bitter Blood.

And the TV miniseries