The Shootist

Terry Anderson thought he'd be in Athens right now, chasing his lifelong dream of Olympic gold. Instead, he's in prison, his life plugged full of holes.

In 1996, Anderson qualified for the Olympics in Atlanta as an alternate. At 51, he was the oldest member of the U.S. delegation. "He was thrilled," Marylynn says. "He was so close. But he never got to shoot one round in Olympic competition. We watched the event, but it was a wistful watching. I felt so sorry for him."

Anderson started Data Recovery Services a year later. He and Marylynn owned the stock; she held 51 percent so they could qualify for government contracts. Marylynn worked at DRS as her husband's assistant, handling administrative duties while Anderson focused on the technical side.

Though he won another national championship in 2000, Anderson didn't go to the Sydney Olympics, because the United States didn't qualify for a rapid-fire quota slot.

Marylynn Anderson feared for her life after finding her husband's cache of secret weapons.
Marylynn Anderson feared for her life after finding her husband's cache of secret weapons.
Terry Anderson won 17 national titles as a shooter and made two Olympic teams.
Photo courtesy of
Terry Anderson won 17 national titles as a shooter and made two Olympic teams.

By 2000, Marylynn was carving out a separate identity, though she still had a hand in at DRS. After earning a master's degree, she started teaching religion full time at Ursuline and part time at St. Monica's.

Anderson was spending lengthy periods in England and Australia. As he saw it, Marylynn was distracted, overworked. In May 2002, Anderson says, he told his wife one of her jobs needed to go so she had more time for the family. Coming from a guy who was away from home 181 days in 2002, it seemed like an extremely selfish request.

When Marylynn refused to cut back, Anderson says, he told her he wanted a divorce but agreed to stay in the home until the end of Edward's senior year the next May.

Here, the Andersons' stories diverge sharply. Marylynn says that conversation never took place. But Monica describes her father returning from a trip that May to find her college stuff still piled in the sunroom. Upset about the mess, he yelled, "I want a divorce!" Marylynn says she didn't take him seriously, or she would have hired an attorney the next day.

In December, Marylynn found a prescription bottle for Viagra in Anderson's car. "I was not the recipient of its benefits, shall we say," Marylynn says. Snooping around, she got into Anderson's laptop and found information about two women he was seeing. Then she learned he had reservations for two at a hotel in Paris in mid-February.

In January 2003, while Anderson was in Australia, Marylynn says, she was approached by unhappy DRS employees who said her husband was behaving erratically. In addition to payroll problems, people hadn't gotten their Christmas bonuses. They needed her help. Sleuthing around, Marylynn became convinced that Anderson was planning to move to Australia so he could make that country's 2004 Olympic team. He'd resigned from the U.S. Shooting Team in 2002, had purchased a Bentley in Sydney and was shopping for real estate. (Anderson admits that he resigned from the shooting team but says he later tried to rejoin. He denies planning to move.)

Fed up, on February 13, 2003, Marylynn put Anderson on a plane to Europe, kissed him goodbye and lined up her weapons for a pre-emptive strike.

In an interview, Marylynn portrays herself as a beaten-down woman at the mercy of an abusive, violent husband. With tears in her eyes, Marylynn says that she never expected Anderson to go to prison, that she was in a "no-win" situation when she found the illegal weapons. Marylynn claims she didn't realize right away that her husband could even get time behind bars.

That claim is almost certainly disingenuous; after all, she'd received immunity from prosecution when she turned over her husband's guns.

At a hearing on February 20 for a temporary restraining order, Marylynn wept her way through testimony, describing Anderson as a man who went by more than a dozen aliases, possessed multiple passports and used credit cards taken out in his son's name. She picked up her husband from the airport just hours after the hearing.

Anderson admits taking out a Mississippi drivers license in his brother's name to avoid getting speeding tickets but claims Marylynn applied for the credit cards. In addition to his U.S. passport, Anderson still had his Australian passport and a gimmick passport from British Honduras, a country that no longer exists, to use "in case of hijackings" by terrorists.

Marylynn testified that she'd found the weapons while rooting around the house for proof of his infidelity. She noticed that the caulking around the forbidden compartment had been unsealed. Removing nails holding it in place, Marylynn discovered the guns. ATF agents came to the house after being notified by Marylynn's attorney.

"I was told they were used in killings and assassinations and things of that nature," Marylynn testified. "I am a dead woman walking." But Marylynn did nothing about Anderson's other weapons: a handgun he kept in their bedroom and a closet full of target pistols. If Anderson was going to kill her, one of those could do the job just as well.

Anderson was particularly upset by Marylynn's reference to Babette's death. According to court records, Marylynn portrayed Babette's death as murder to the ATF and to the company's staff and, when she sat down with their children to tell them about the divorce, neglected to mention that the death certificate listed the cause of death as "accidental."

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