Date: 2005-04-08

Associated Press
The Miami Herald

A couple facing charges they tortured some of their adopted children have spent their months in jail urging relatives and friends to help in their defense, newly released documents from the Citrus County state attorney's office shows.

The letters and transcripts of telephone calls are a glimpse into John and Linda Dollar's defense as they each face five counts of aggravated child abuse. The couple have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors say the Dollars tortured and starved five of their seven adopted children, pulling out their fingernails with pliers, shocking them with a stun gun and forcing them to sleep in a closet as punishment for stealing food. Three of the teenage children were so severely malnourished when they were discovered in January that they each weighed less than 60 pounds and appeared to be only about half their age.

Since their arrest, the Dollars have written at least a dozen letters to each other from their separate cells at the county jail, where they are being held without bail. As part of jail policy, the only way they can communicate daily is through letters, which can be opened and inspected.

After reading their children's testimony, Linda Dollar wrote to her husband that she was surprised at what the children told investigators.

The couple also have tried to persuade John Dollar's mother, Pauline, to testify for them.

Pauline Dollar, a retired schoolteacher, lived with the Dollars at their Citrus County home from August until their arrest in February. She told investigators her son and his wife had to be stern with the children because they were wild.

She told detectives she first moved in with her son after he and his wife borrowed $40,000 from her savings to stockpile food, toilet paper and supplies for Y2K - the belief that computers were going to freeze because of a programming glitch on New Year's Day 2000, throwing the world into chaos. They allowed her to live with them to help repay their debt, she said.


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