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Head scratcher! ‘Not guilty does not mean innocent’ – Jury acquits lawyer, 48-year-old attorney Susan Elizabeth Van Note, of murdering her millionaire father and his girlfriend

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Though she was acquitted, Tuesday, still the jury believes Susan Elizabeth Van Note was ‘involved’ in some way in the murder of her millionaire father and his girlfriend 
Susan ‘Liz’ Van Note, 48, of Lee’s Summit, Mo was facing two counts of first-degree murder in the 2010 deaths of her dad William Van Note, 67, and his 59-year-old fiancée, Sharon Dickson
Van Note and Sharon Dickson were shot during a home invasion at the couple’s Lake of the Ozarks vacation house on Oct 2, 2010, Dickson died  after being stabbed and shot
Critically injured Van Note was recuperating in hospital from the attack until his daughter Liz produced a signature claiming he’d requested to have his medical care terminated
Elizabeth Van Note was accused of forging her father’s signature leading to first degree murder charges, in Missouri
She inherited $1.6million of her father’s estate after Dickson, who was expected to inherit the majority of the estate, was also killed 
Van Note’s alibi for the murders was that she was with her mother, Barbara,
Barbara herself had served jail time for forging her own mother’s name for power of attorney
Susan Liz Van Note was acquitted of murder, Tuesday after a jury said there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her 
Andrew Dickson, has a wrongful death case pending against Susan Van Note in the death of his mother Sharon Dickson
Susan Van Note2.png
   Susan ‘Liz’ Van Note, faced two counts of first-degree murder in the 2010 home invasion killing of her dad and his fiance

A jury have found a Missouri lawyer not guilty of murdering her millionaire father and his girlfriend, even though the entire panel felt she was ‘involved’.
Susan ‘Liz’ Van Note, 48, of Lee’s Summit, was acquitted Tuesday night of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2010 deaths of 67-year-old William Van Note and 59-year-old Sharon Dickson.
Van Note collected about $1.6 million upon her father’s death, according to a court appointed executor of his will.
Dickson died at the couple’s Lake of the Ozarks vacation house after being stabbed and shot.
William Van Note, who was also stabbed and shot, was rushed to Columbia hospital where he was being kept alive on a ventilator. Prosecutors say his daughter subsequently forged her father’s signature on power of attorney documents so she could pull the plug.
Liz Van Note the prosecution said, enlisted a high school classmate and her husband, Stacey and Desre Dory of Shawnee, Kansas to act as witnesses to the forged documents.
KansasCity.com reports that Jury foreman Merri Hess said the panel felt Van Note, who specialized in end-of-life matters, was involved but that they couldn’t convict her on the evidence presented.
”Not guilty’ does not mean innocent,’ Hess said.
Susan Van Note allegedly had filed for bankruptcy and was angry that her father had named Dickson to inherit the bulk of his estate, which had a net worth in 2009 of nearly $8 million. The probate of the estate was roughly $3 million.
After his death, his daughter assumed the role of the estate’s executor.
An appeals court later found Susan Van Note had sold several properties in her father’s estate for her own use.

 William B. Van Note [right] with girlfriend Sharon Dickson.jpg
Susan’s dad, William B. Van Note [photo Right] with girlfriend Sharon Dickson. Both were died in the aftermath of a 2010 home invasion robbery

After the murders, a court appointed their own executor who estimated she had collected $1.6 million of her father’s estate. She eventually agreed to pay back just $273,000.
Lead prosecutor Kevin Zoellner described Van Note in his closing argument as a ‘terrible killer’ who ‘used her mouth to tell the hospital to kill’ her father. He said a call from Van Note’s cellphone to her home pinged a tower near the crime scene minutes after the attack.
Her attorneys pointed to another man, who has since disappeared, as the killer. No hair, blood, DNA or fibers linked Van Note to the crime scene.
Susan Van Note’s alibi was her mother, Barbara Van Note, who told investigators that her daughter was home in Lee’s Summit when the killings happened 119 miles away in Sunrise Beach.
It is noteworthy that Barbara Van Note went to prison in 2005 for forging her own mother’s name to a power of attorney, and she was ordered to repay $108,000 to a trust fund.
The trial initially was to have been in June 2015, but a mistrial was declared after members of the jury pool reportedly discussed the case during a break, which breaches legal rules.
A second attempt at the proceedings two months later ended when Susan Van Note’s lawyers challenged the admissibility of cellphone evidence.
Dickson’s son, Andrew Dickson, has a wrongful death case pending against Susan Van Note.

 William B. Van Note [right] with girlfriend Sharon Dickson2.jpgDickson [Right] was going to inherit the bulk of the $20 million estate

After 20 years together,William Van Note and Dickson were getting married, hoping that the union would be a new begining after previous failed marriages.
They never got the chance. On October 2, 2010, an intruder shot the couple in their lake home in Sunrise Beach.who was stabbed and shot, died at the scene, leaving Van Note critically wounded with a gunshot wound to the head.
He died four days later, after his daughter told doctors that he would prefer to die rather than be kept alive by medical intervention. Liz Van Note showed up with a durable power of attorney for health care and asked that her father’s ventilator be shut off.

Van Note's lakeside home.png
One of Van Note’s lavish lakeside homes is seen with the accountant leaving behind a $1.6 million estate that would have benefited his long-time girlfriend if she had survived

Van Note’s daughter, Susan, was accused by prosecutors of pulling the trigger and forging her father’s signature on the document doctors relied on to end his medical treatment.
‘He died as a result of them removing life support, not as a result of the gunshot,’ Camden County prosecutor Brian Keedy said. ‘If you commit a felony, and somebody dies as a result, there is a criminal responsibility for that death.’
By all accounts they had a troubled father-daughter relationship excercebated by the divorce of  William Van Note from Liz’s  mother Barbara, three decades earlier. Susan was the one surviving child, her brother having died as a teenager.
But the relationship appeared to have recovered somewhat, at least enough that Van Note felt comfortable letting his daughter handle some of his affairs.
Liz Van Note, who lived with her mother and teenage son in the Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit after a 2006 divorce, helped her father manage his commercial rental properties on Liberty’s historic downtown square.

Susan Van Note ( 2012 photo) .jpgLiz Van Note, (orange suit) was accused of forging her critically injured father’s signature to make herself a durable power of attorney so she could pull the plug on him, days after surviving the shooting
 Van Note who had built his payroll and accounting businesses from modest beginnings
had sold several of his businesses years ago, but continued to work during tax season when not vacationing at the lake or his home in Port Charlotte, Fla.
His daughter, meanwhile, was struggling to make ends meet. Records show that Liz Van Note filed for bankruptcy in federal court in September 2009. She listed $254, 938 in assets and $374,072.86 in debt owed to 10 creditors, including American Express, Wells Fargo Bank and a children’s hospital. She’d previously worked for Merrill Lynch before attending law school, and listed a monthly income around $3,300.
When the shooting happened, fearful friends and neighbors initially wondered whether the crime was committed by a pro. The crime scene was clean and there were no signs of forced entry into the home. Some whispered that the assailant might have gotten away by boat.
Van Note is pictured left of Desre Dory and Stacey Dory1.pngSusan Van Note is pictured left of Desre Dory and Stacey Dory, who prosecutors say aided in the killing of William Van Note and Sharon Dickson

Van Note (in 2012) was acquitted Tuesday night although the jury foreman said that while they found her not guilty that did not mean they thought she was innocent

Dickson was slated to inherit Van Note’s cash and several homes. But her death would have likely meant that Van Note’s daughter would get most of the estate’s proceeds, which were likely worth millions of dollars more than the partial estimate on file.
Four months after her father’s death, the Florida home was sold by Liz Van Note for $238,000, records show. Three days after her arrest, Dickson’s adult son filed a court petition to remove Liz Van Note as the principal beneficiary and will executor, citing the criminal cases.

 

 

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