Thursday, January 19, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: UCG Minister Charged With Killing Wife After Failed Attempt To Hire Hitman

Stephen Carl Allwine of Minnesota has been charged with killing his wife.


It's got everything. Staged suicides. Attempts at hiring a hitman. Extramarital affairs. 

The Alwine family is currently in the COG (UCG last I checked).

Church members in UCG and COGWA who knew them were shocked when the story of Amy's murder first came to light. 

Stephen Alwine had staged the "discovery" of his wife's body with his 9-year-old son, and church members first believed their family had been a terrible victim of outsiders. They didn't want to believe that this could happen to church members (it does) and were quick to blame it on the nearest black/gay/atheist/muslim home invader. 

Of course, as every police procedural will tell you, the spouse is always the first suspect.

The local COG congregations, needless to say, are completely floored.

ht: Silenced


Daily Mail UK news had this about the UCG link:

Husband is charged with shooting dead his wife then trying to disguise her death as a suicide by staging her body with a handgun 'after failed murder-for-hire plots paid for with bitcoins on Dark Web'  
According to his LinkedIn page, Stephen Allwine works as an IT specialist at an insurance company and has long been active in ministry at the United Church of God.
His late wife was the owner of Active Dogs Sports Training located next door to the family’s home, which went out of business a short time after her death. 


KARE Minneapolis
A criminal complaint filed in Washington County details how Stephen Carl Allwine, 43, 
allegedly shot his wife, Amy, in the head after engaging in several affairs 
and trying to contact a hit man on the 'dark web' to kill her.

When Cottage Grove police were summoned to an alleged suicide on a Sunday evening in November, it didn’t take long for them to figure out something was amiss.
The victim, Amy Louise Allwine, lay dead on the bedroom floor at her home on 110th Street S. Beside her left elbow was a 9mm handgun, opposite from where the bullet entered the right-handed victim’s head.
“Victim’s hands revealed no soot, no gunpowder stippling, no unburned gunpowder stippling, and no blood on either hand,” according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday that charges her husband, Stephen Carl Allwine, 43, with second-degree murder.

Investigators also uncovered evidence that he wanted out of his marriage. He was having at least two extramarital affairs with metro-area women, arranged through the Ashley Madison website. 

Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation, including Cottage Grove and Woodbury police, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and other state and federal agencies, said Capt. Peter Koerner of Cottage Grove police. 
“I’ve never seen a case this complicated,” said Fred Fink, who manages the criminal division for the Washington County attorney’s office. “Most of the time we’re dealing with human witnesses, but this one required a significant amount of electronic and scientific evidence.” 
Stephen Allwine, arrested Tuesday, remains in the Washington County jail.
Bail was set Wednesday at $1 million with no conditions or $500,000 that would require GPS monitoring, no travel outside Minnesota, and no unsupervised visits with the couple’s 9-year-old son. 
Allwine’s next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Murder charges: Cottage Grove man staged wife's suicide after searching for hitman on 'Dark Web'

Cottage Grove man charged with wife's murder

Daily Mail UK article



Anonymous said...

The disUnited Church of Godlessness: Where unrepentant, unconverted, unbelieving perverts go to behave very badly while playing church.

DennisCDiehl said...

I have always had mixed feelings about such occurrences "in the church." While we might find it abhorant and make real (as in Terry Ratzman) connections to the actual church of God associated with this, aside from that, it is something that occurs in every church and organization on earth.

People, all people, wear masks as I have written about before.

So tragic to be the victim of the deepest and darkest struggles of another for sure. Part of the Church of God culture, and really of most religion is the fact that being open about the struggles on faces on the inside , regardless of the smile and good works on the outside, is something one can never safely reveal either in a relationship and certainly not to a church for the most part.

There were many a time when I would have done much better being able to talk to someone openly , during my time as a minister, and both be listened to and understood without consequences or retribution. It was not possible and something spoken in hopeful confidence was libel to end up on someone else's desk "for action to be taken." I learned very quickly not to trust any minister in the church, local or on high with my real thoughts, struggles and issues. This is also true in spades with deacons and elders.

It's part of the reason I stayed too long. I "hoped" things would get better and relieve the stress but they only got worse. That staying too long thing is also a regret but it is my nature to go down with ships.

Church and religion does not make human beings fundamentally better for the most part in my view. It masks and stiffles expression and produces very shallow friendships. It leaves most with their thoughts, demons and personal issues unable to be expressed safely and not to receive a compassionate, helpful and understanding ear without unintended consequences.

"Encouragement should actually be encouraging to the one needing to be encouraged."

Condolences to all concerned in this case for sure. It is a despicable outcome.

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DennisCDiehl said...

I recall one of the times I learned NOT to ever talk to HQ/Joe Tkach Sr about anything. I called to ask him directly about whether or not HWA was now getting a divorce from Ramona etc, as many in my church were already telling stupid me was occurring. He yelled, and I mean yelled over the phone at my then wife who answered his return call as I had left for the day, "Tell Dennis to put a lid on it!"

Not only could no lid be placed but had I done that I would have been made out to be more of a foolish lackey to HQ than was already unfolding no matter what I knew or didn't know at any particular time. Mostly I didn't know until members informed me through their own networks.

I imagine many had such experiences and my point is that "once burned, twice smart," and getting help, counseling or just a kind and safe ear becomes less a perceived option.

What a circus.

Silenced said...

Yes, this does happen all over society and in other churches. It's not necessarily a symptom of COG culture.

But how the COG groups deal with this stuff is on them. Already UCG has scrubbed their website of recorded Stephen Allwine messages. It only took them an hour since the news broke. Most traces of him related to the church, that UCG can control, are gone, and it's certainly giving them fits to see UCG pop up on Allwine's LinkedIn and in the press. Their first reaction is PR damage control, rather than trying to address the tragedy.

The COG cults so often sweep tragedy like this under the rug, or try to deflect it. They don't openly deal with members' feelings or ask the question "how can we prevent this from ever happening again?" Out in the non-COG world, we have mechanisms for dealing with the grief and confusion, terror and tragedy. In the COG, things just fester until the next atrocity.

nck said...

After reading the headline and a couple of sentences the first thought that sprung to my mind was that this guy must be in IT or something technical.
Those people have a way of dealing with emotions and other people.

On the other hand Ted Bundy was Harvard Law.

On second thought Robert Mugabe is a technician.


Anonymous said...

Yet another great needless tragedy.

Now, before anyone says that this sort of thing happens in all groups and organizations, let me point out that the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia has always portrayed itself as being God's representatives on earth -- uh, hence the [xxx] Church of God [xxx] names: Claiming the Name of God. Not only claiming the Name of God, but the only ones with access to the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, these [xxx] Church of God [xxx] are not shy and are fairly quick on the draw to use disfellowshipment, unless, of course, it is a stalker in their midst (especially true of the UCG), then it is the stalker who gets the free pass and the victim risks getting disfellowshipped for not keeping quiet.

I was there in Redmond in services for the WCG when Chuck Harris pulled open his suit jacket and showed me his six shooter after church services right there in the Scottish Rite Temple. It was after this time he shot Brenda James and several other members dead (he also corrupted two teens who were prosecuted for murder, one of which was an elder's son) with that very same gun. His roommate knew what was going on and going nuts because no one would listen to him.

I have this to say: The ACoGs are a cult -- not just a cult, but a cult that attracts sociopaths and psychopaths. It is not a warm fuzzy place for people to be converted to achieve redemption. It is a chaotic venue just ripe for opportunity for those with antisocial disorders (as well as fostering mental illnesses to boot). If anything, it is a threat to mental health, not a source of it. It is a profoundly corrupting influence to those whose lives it touches.

The question is, just where was the ministry who is supposed to protect the congregation? He was "long active in the ministry at the United Church of God"? This is yet another indication of how inappropriate the ACoGs are in the selection of the ministry. We had a pedophile elder teaching Y.O.U. classes. The women in the church contacted headquarters and they did nothing. I will cite the article at Silenced about Dennis Luker: Unfit to Lead". When I brought stuff like this forward, the response from the minister was, "Geez, I have to work with the man" or "take it to him, he's responsible for the area" (that, from the Chairman of the UCG ethics committee, Robert Dick).

No, don't give the Armstrongists a free pass. They are quite aggressively willingly ignorant of these sorts of situations, and / or worse, they cover them up.

The leadership will never listen to you if you bring this up. The only and appropriate response is to LEAVE!!!!! You and your family are never safe.

Unfortunately, there are far too many people trapped who do not have the wherewithal to do what they should and leave.

It's too bad that after becoming a member of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia, people have progressive hearing loss: They don't listen to reason any longer. The ministers, of course, have the worst progressive hearing loss and don't really listen to their congregation unless it is something they want to hear.

In the end, all we can do is say, "Sorry for your loss".

Anonymous said...

After reading the headline and a couple of sentences the first thought that sprung to my mind was that this guy must be in IT or something technical

That is really stupid: Manufacturing has the highest incidence in the working world.

The first thought should have been that he worked for the Post Office.

Anonymous said...

Where is your compassion for this family? I don't know them and am not in UCG but this is a horrible tragedy that affects both families and all who knew them. (BTW, their son is 9, not 12.) Yes, we all have masks in some sort of way but the faulty thinking that led to this nightmare grew and grew. Did it start with pornography (thought by so many to be "innocent")? Somewhere along the way this man's thinking was so distorted - divorce can be embarrassing and expensive but it's a much better option!

Anonymous said...

Hey, United, did you disfellowship him or not?

Or are you waiting for conviction?

Will you visit him in prison?

nck said...

Oowah, I see he was also a member of the Ashley Madison cult, promising easy solutions for difficult social processes.
I hear of countries where they are trying to limit advertising that actively promote adultery.
I somewhat agree with Black Opps that systems attract species that fit, that's why systems need protective filters.


Byker Bob said...

It's a given that any time any bad events such as these happen, there will be guilt by association. Some people blame themselves for not having prevented them, and others work damage control, attempting to handle them as a public relations problem.

It is easier to be sympathetic in cases where groups or organizations don't place themselves above it all, insisting that such events would be impossible within their circle because they are special.

Traditionally, Armstrongism has taught that they have special protection, or that their beliefs prevent certain types of behavior. But, time and human nature affect them just as they do everyone else walking around on the planet. Stench of feces cannot be suspended based on group affiliation, as much as their promoters might insist that that is so.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere along the way this man's thinking was so distorted

Yes, and it started when he began attending services in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia.

In mathematics, division by zero is undefined. When entering into the CoHAM, a person encounters lies, deceptions and chaotic disproved ideas set as doctrines which are confusing and are the equivalent of the mathematical division by zero. Anything is possible: We HAVE THE PROOF THAT 1 = 2! British Israelism is the key to understanding the Bible and is the key to understanding prophecy! This is irrational. Objectivity and reason become undefined.

This chaos of distorted thinking affects people in different ways. Some go quietly mad, others obsess, some seek inappropriate satisfaction to fill the aching void of emptiness from the lack of any love or nurture, still others become violent. CoHAM is a stressor which some people handle better than others, but very often people just lose it and go off into craziness. This is the product and the result of the cult of personality where people are directed to give of themselves and their assets to the benefit of the leader(s), thinking they are bettering the group and even the world. This ends in tragedy for those associated with less than stellar behavior control. It should be pointed out that this is further aggravated by boozing alcoholism.

It isn't clear whether this man grew up in the church or not. He may have and others might know. If he did, the problem is compounded by beginning in chaotic insanity from early childhood with absolutely no defense against the experiences of a corrupt religious system.

In the end, there isn't a real excuse for his meltdown, but it was likely seriously aggravated by Armstrongism and may very well have been rooted in it.

A religion of lies will not produce good fruit.

Anonymous said...

systems attract species that fit

Just as chaos attracts psychopaths (reference "Snakes in Suits" by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak).

Unknown said...

My prayer for their innocent 9 year old son, who, in effect, has now lost both of his parents.

Unknown said...

The UCG has released the following Initial Statement:

“United Church of God officials expressed profound shock and sadness in learning of the January 17 arrest of Stephen Allwine on the charges of second-degree murder of his wife Amy Louise Allwine. Two months earlier on November 13, Amy Allwine had been found dead at her St. Paul area suburban home by police and paramedics following an emergency call from her husband.
Church officials and members were first stunned and grieved when they learned of the tragic death of Amy in November. After hearing of the tragedy, Church President Victor Kubik and his wife Beverly immediately traveled from Ohio to Minnesota to be with family members and show support during a heart-rending time for the congregation. Allwine had served as a lay elder for several years.
President Kubik has called for renewed prayers for the families involved as details of the charges emerge. He said that the whole situation was “tragic and singularly devastating.”
Area police noted in their initial public comments that Amy’s death appeared “suspicious” and promised that an expanded investigation would take place. Allwine was not arrested nor named as a suspect at that time. During the investigation local church officials positively cooperated with police and law enforcement officials.
Church teachings based on the Bible condemn murder, and the United Church of God follows the teachings of Jesus Christ about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of loving family environments. “Given our biblical commitment and our love for our members, this situation deeply hurts and grieves all of us,” Kubik said. The Church president asked for prayers of comfort, healing and understanding for all.”

Byker Bob said...

Oh, yes! That is tragic for the young boy. Hopefully he has relatives who are not involved in Armstrongism that could take him into a normal family situation and improve his quality of life!


Unknown said...

WARNING! - Church settings AND "Ashley Madison" can both be very dangerous places to meet people.

Anonymous said...

This is the abundant life.

Anonymous said...

Dreadfully sad. I was not a personal friend of Amy but had been at the same feasts as her. She was a very loving mum to her son and they seemed the perfect church family.

Sane Con said...

Amen to that Byker Bob! Amen!

Anonymous said...

I happen to be a COG member who has been living overseas for several years thus not attending a congregation save for the annual Feast. In my experience, UCG has been working on integrating acceptance and a non-judgemental attitude toward others. In a sermon that Mark Mickelson gave a couple of years back, he was clear in stating that church should be more like a hospital. All of us are sinners, imperfect and we need each is where you go for support and help and healing and I have felt this attitude growing in UCG. God is doing a strong work still and he is using UCG (and other organizations) as one of His instruments. I happen to know Amy and saw her family very recently. None of us want to believe stuff like this can happen, but it does no matter your church or religious affiliation. God will deal with it, the best we can do is to pray for the families involved. Don't blame "the church". A persons' ultimate relationship is through God and Christ, not a man-made organization-- who by the way, UCG will admit, that they are a human organization and are not perfect. It's a small organization with many people who know each other and have for years and it is a death in the family. Sometimes initial reactions aren't always the right ones so don't be so judgemental in how this is immediately being handled. I pray that UCG will deal with the situation appropriately through God's guidance and this can open doors to help others struggling with sin.
And for the record, UCG is not a cult. It is the most open and loving and genuine COG organizations at work. People are people and we all make mistakes. Just make sure you are in the right place with God, not an organization.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous on January 22, 2017 at 9:10 PM said... “In a sermon that Mark Mickelson gave a couple of years back, he was clear in stating that church should be more like a hospital.”

Maybe so. In a hospital some of the people actually get helped and healed.

Currently, the UCG is more like an insane asylum. Nobody gets better. They just get worse and worse while being humored and allowed to think that they are okay.

Anonymous said...

What happened... wasn't he supposed to appear in court earlier this week. No updates???

Anonymous said...

Wondering the same here

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the young boy continues to be reared in that church by his grandparents. Even Amy's family is still trying to sweep this under the rug. So very sad. I went to AU with both Amy and Steve and am not surprised by any of this. Anyone who is shaking their head in disbelief of this tragedy didn't have their eyes open. Unlike Amy, I fortunately (so far) have lived thru a similar situation. CHURCH and NARCISSISM are two culprits. And they feed each other continuously. Oh and don't forget EGO. My hope is that Amy's young son will not be forgotten in this as he is the victim who survived.