For a Mothers Love by Lee Butcher (December 1992)

If You’re Going To Be a Liar, Be A Good Liar
Review by Kim Cantrell

Virginia (Ginny, Jenny) Larzelere is the epitome of evil.

After numerous failed marriages, Virginia seduced Dr. Norman “Doc” Larzelere into her gold-digging, black widow web.

Even before the wedding, vicious fights frequently erupted between the couple. And afterwards…they only got worse.

Despite learning that his wife was a manipulating, criminally-convicted woman who had a very unnatural relationship with her son, Jason, Dr. Larzelere loved her. And although he suspected she was soliciting others to kill him, he didn’t divorce her.

His suspicions would eventually become fact. In March 1991, a lone gun man would rush into the office of Dr. Larzelere and kill him. Even as he lay dying, Dr. Larzelere knew his killer’s name; calling it out for others to hear.

An intense, mind-boggling investigation would follow; one that would trap Virginia Larzelere in her own web of deceit and bring her to Florida’s death row.

Lee Butcher doesn’t disappoint readers when it comes to crime. For A Mother’s Love is a detailed recounting of case of Virginia and Jason Larzelere.  Full of vivid testimony about murder, incest, bisexuality, homosexuality, hit men, wealth, and deceit, readers will find, to use the words of an investigator, there’s “never a dull moment.”

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In February 2008, the Florida Supreme Court overturned Virginia’s death sentence. Later she was resentenced to life in prison.

Even from her prison cell, Virginia continues to manipulate people into believing her lies and pleas of innocence; some even going so far to claim they have “proof” that she is innocent.

Jason Larzelere opted to settle with his siblings when it came to Dr. Norman Larzelere’s estate. He settled for a total $90,000.

Virginia’s sister Jeneatte Atkinson filed a claim against the Larzelere estate, claiming that she had suffered financial ruin, leading to bankruptcy, for Virginia’s defense. Any monies received is not known.

How Could This Have Happened?


One of the frequently discussed topics by readers of this book if “How could so many know and not tell?”

The answer is simple: the people that Virginia solicitied to kill her husband had realized that she was liar, and didn’t take her seriously.

With the exception of Kristen Palmieri and Steven Heilde. These two individuals knew and even participated in the crimes (no doubt because of their own greed); but, in my opinion, they got away with murder.

Why? Simply because they were willing to testify against the big fish: Virginia and Jason.

And then the question arises, “If Dr. Larzelere knew, why did he not divorce Virginia?”

Contrary to what many said that Doc loved Virginia, I think he hated her. Even loathed her for all the things she had done to him, his stepchildren, and his two sons.

But he loved those children more than he hated her.

The Courts had already proven that, as was common in the 1990s, they would side with the woman when they issued a restraining order against him.

Dr. Larzelere was a smart man, and he undoubtedly realized that custody of the children would most likely, at least in the beginning, be placed with Virginia.

How can you protect those you love when you are prohibited from seeing them only a few days per month?

You can’t. And Doc knew that. So he stated in a marriage that was hell on earth and eventually fatal to protect his children.

Until you’ve lived divorce, you won’t understand it. And there will be some who have experienced divorce but still won’t understand it.

But I do.

And I think Dr. Larzelere was an honorable man who put the safety of his children before his own peace of mind, his own happiness.

His own life.

Three people walked away scot-free from murder: Jason, Kristen, and Steven.

Karma can be a real bitch, and they will get their dues. Sometime, someplace.

Especially Jason. You don’t kill the man who gave you his name, loved you like his own son, and not expect Karma to come calling.