Mom of suspect in 'death by forgery' case had own conviction

Camden County prosecutor is aware of mother's conviction

The mother of a Kansas City lawyer facing charges of "death by forgery" in Central Missouri for allegedly falsifying her father's signature to have him removed from life support had her own run-in with the law over an alleged forgery years earlier.

Susan Elizabeth Van Note, 44, is charged with killing her father, William Van Note, in October 2010. He died after he and his live-in girlfriend, Sharon Dickson, were shot at their Lake of the Ozarks vacation home. Dickson also died, though no charges have been filed in her death.

Court records in Kansas show that seven years before William Van Note's death, Susan Van Note's mother, Barbara, was convicted of stealing more than $100,000 from her mother by forging a financial power of attorney document. Barbara Van Note, 67, served 11 months in jail and received an additional two years of probation.

Details in that case are scarce because Barbara Van Note had the 2005 conviction expunged shortly after her daughter's September arrest. The records were permanently sealed, and Johnson County, Kan., prosecutors say the law prevents them from even acknowledging the conviction.

The AP obtained information about the case before a judge approved Barbara Van Note's request. The court docket shows Barbara Van Note repaid $108,494 in restitution to her mother, Rosita Browne.

Camden County prosecutor Brian Keedy, who filed the "death by forgery" charges in Boone County since William Van Note died in a Columbia hospital, said he was familiar with the 2005 case involving Barbara Van Note — the victim's ex-wife — but didn't know she had the conviction expunged until told by an Associated Press reporter. He declined comment, citing the pending case.

Attorneys for both Susan Van Note and her mother did not respond to several requests for comment.

At the time of his death, Bill Van Note and Dickson, 59, were preparing to marry after dating for nearly 20 years, friends said. A 67-year-old retired accountant and Liberty, Mo., landlord, Van Note owned at least three boats, the Sunrise Beach waterfront home and a winter getaway in Port Charlotte, Fla.

The couple were shot by an intruder at their lake home who gained entry without force, according to police. Van Note survived despite being shot in the head and stabbed. He died four days later after Susan Van Note showed doctors at University Hospital in Columbia a durable power of health care attorney that prosecutors say was forged.

Susan Van Note's legal practice advertises her "compassionate representation of clients" and expertise in end-of-life issues. She has lived with her mother and teenage son in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, Mo., following a 2006 divorce. She also helped her father manage his numerous commercial rental properties in Liberty. She has pleaded not guilty to killing her father.

Van Note is also fighting in court for control over her father's estate. Dickson's adult son has asked that Van Note be removed as the personal representative of his estate and as principal beneficiary in her father's will, citing the criminal charges. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

William Van Note's first choice as his personal representative was Dickson.

Van Note is also accused of enlisting Desre and Stacey Dory of Shawnee, Kan., to help kill her father. Both have pleaded not guilty to felony forgery and second-degree murder charges. Liz Van Note and Stacey Dory were classmates at Shawnee Mission South High School.

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