By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
If one does not count their Las Vegas nuptials in June 1994, Brian Loncar married his third wife, Sue Long, on New Year's Day 1995. Before the year was out, however, they were in a no-holds-barred battle with Mary.
In October 1995, Mary accused Sue and her 11-year-old son of inappropriately touching her then-two-year-old daughter, Hailey, and filed with the court to modify their joint-custody arrangement.
By last January, Highland Park police and Child Protective Services confirmed they were unable to determine whether anything illegal had occurred. Mary's attorney, Keith Becker, dropped her action to modify custody shortly after those investigations concluded.
But Brian Loncar was already on the offensive against Mary, more than ready to play hardball. "You get ready for the battle of your life, because I'm going to finish you off once and for all," Loncar sneered at her in a telephone call he tape-recorded, and subsequently was made to turn over to Mary's lawyer. "We are going to sue you until you're done. We are going to bury you...I am going to put your whole family through this."
He continued: "I am suing you from three fronts, you be ready...Let's see how much money you have left."
To help carry out his promise, he hired attorney Chris Weil, who has a reputation in Dallas legal circles for aggressive, biting tactics designed to make things as uncomfortable as possible for opposing litigants.
Loncar filed suit in Collin County to remove Hailey from her mother's custody, and Sue Loncar sued Mary for defamation, alleging that she "initiated a cruel and nefarious scheme of lies and half-truths" about Sue Loncar and her children "in an attempt to manufacture a basis to deny visitation to Brian."
The suit, which asks for $500,000 in actual and punitive damages, accuses Mary of "coaching an innocent two-year-old to blurt out to third parties that one of [Sue Loncar's] children touched her 'peepee,' and that Sue had forced her to breast-feed but that she 'spit out the milk.'" In a third lawsuit, Sue Long's ex-husband, Pat Long, filed a $1 million defamation suit on behalf of his son.
The defamation cases are pending.
Loncar and Weil were handed a blow last month, however, when District Judge John Roach awarded Mary $58,900 in court costs and ruled to maintain joint custody.
Becker, who believes that Loncar's promise to "bury" his ex-wife prompted the award, says he has little respect for Loncar personally or professionally after watching him operate during the case.
"He's malicious," Becker says. "He uses his law license to abuse people." In one deposition brought during the custody hearing in Judge Roach's court in October, Loncar's grandmother says he told her, "If any of my family even talked to Mary, I will slit their throats."
In person, Loncar seemed barely able to contain himself, Becker says. "A lot of times he is just on the edge of losing total control."
During one deposition, Becker is quoted in a transcript saying, "Shut up Mr. Loncar, shut up. Stop mouthing obscenities to me, please." In another, he says, "I object to Mr. Loncar continuing to comment behind the scenes...If he continues to make faces at [me], I'm going to leave the deposition."
Becker says Loncar seems to resort to intimidation as a rule. "It's a lot of puff, but it frightens people," he says. "I'm surprised by how many people are afraid of him. I just think he's a laugh.