Georgia in the Pines

A suburban mom terrifies an anchorwoman and shakes up a town

When Krueger substitute-coached her daughter's soccer team, Georgia Roberts was there snapping pictures. This kind of thing went on until Krueger became fed up and called assistant state attorney Tony Loe, who was recommended by a friend. After Loe told her to try to settle it outside the courtroom, Krueger asked Roberts to stop dropping her name, making up stories about her, and following her around. Roberts was upset but agreed.

But it was only the beginning. In early April 2001, Roberts waited for Krueger at the school one morning and told her in tears that Kylee had to be invited to Kelsie's April 28 birthday party. "She's a pageant princess -- how could you deny her?" Roberts asked her. "I know you think I'm stalking you. I know I scare you, but I'm not really scary."

When Krueger rebuffed Kylee's mother, Roberts told the broadcaster that other mothers were jealous of them, since both of their daughters were so special, and that Silver Palms might become another Columbine or a "Texas cheerleader situation."

Scenes of suburban bliss for Georgia Roberts and the twins
Scenes of suburban bliss for Georgia Roberts and the twins

With this prospect of violence, Krueger's patience ran out.

While Roberts denies much of Krueger's story, the gist is certainly true: Roberts was obsessed with Krueger, and the anchorwoman was genuinely frightened. Roberts confesses to overstepping her bounds; she says she was seeking "validation" -- one of her favorite words -- from Krueger. Newscasters "come into your homes on a daily basis, and you feel like you know them, but you really don't," Roberts explains. "At some level, I crossed the line. I was too much of a pest. I lost my mother, and my father never validated me, and that makes me feel insecure, and that causes me to talk a lot. I got a little kick by being on par with this woman."

Roberts insists she never had lunch with Kelsie; she found out about "Elizabeth" from Kylee, who mistakenly thought it was a real child. "It was just gossip," she says.

For Roberts, Krueger was on the highest social plane, while other mothers occupied an almost subhuman level, and she herself was somewhere in the middle. "Those other mothers validated their lives through Kristi more than I ever did -- they were total phonies," she says. "They couldn't stand that someone like me could shop at Nordstrom's once in a while and then go have a big greasy hamburger at Denny's, which is still my favorite restaurant. They looked down on that. In that way, it was like high school all over again. I knew I was better than them."

As things were boiling over with Krueger, Roberts was busy battling with one of those other mothers, Hilda Sultan, whose daughter Alexis was in Kylee's kindergarten class. Roberts and Sultan had once been friends, enjoying play dates with their children, but both women say the relationship ended when the other became obsessed with her child.

Roberts began telling everyone that Sultan might try to sabotage Pines Day to harm her daughter out of envy. Sultan, a licensed psychologist, says the allegations began only after she rejected Roberts.

"She has a narcissistic need for control, power, and attention," says Sultan, who once complained to an assistant principal after Kylee won the lead of a school play over Alexis. "She has a thirst for status, and she targets whoever she perceives to have status, be they doctors or anchors or beauty queens. Then she tortures them. I believe she sadistically enjoys all of this."

If Roberts relished the Silver Palms fiasco, her joy lurked somewhere beneath apparent desperation. She became apoplectic about the fact that Kylee wasn't invited to Kelsie's birthday party -- and apocalyptic about Pines Day.

The imbroglio, in some ways, mirrors Roberts' dispute with her former roommate in Chicago, Laura Peveler, that prompted her to buy the shotgun that ultimately killed Angela Puccetti. "She was doing the same thing she did with Angela, saying someone was out to get us, saying that she and I needed to be protected from Hilda Sultan just like she said back then that she needed protection from Peveler," says Krueger, who didn't find out about the shooting until after Roberts' arrest.

Both Sultan and Peveler are third wheels in the respective dramas, and both claim Roberts unwittingly sucked them into the picture. Ultimately, Roberts blames both: Peveler for the shooting of Puccetti and Sultan for the meltdown with Krueger.

And it was getting creepier. According to Krueger, Kylee told her at school, "My mommy says I have to wear a bulletproof vest [at the parade] because somebody is going to take me out."

The week before the climactic Pines Day was filled with a rising tension:

Monday, April 23: Roberts complains to Pines Police Officer William Felix that Sultan pulled Kylee's hair at the school, a claim that was never substantiated. Roberts mentions Krueger's name several times, so Felix checks the story with the anchorwoman. "The only mother who is unstable, the only mother I'm frightened of... is Georgia Roberts," Krueger tells Felix.

That afternoon, the frustrated Krueger confronts Roberts in the school parking lot and demands she back off, leaving Roberts and her twins in tears.

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