The Sadlers stayed in the Washington area, and things seemed fine between them the first year… But then issues started surfacing. Mary Faye once lost a house to arsonists in South Carolina. She told Robert’s daughter that they were not getting along -- though their friends failed to notice. Just before they were married, a break-in had occurred at Mary Faye’s home, where $150,000 in jewels and silver were reported stolen -- insurance money was involved. And all those secret trips. Much was peculiar in the new marriage of Robert and Mary Faye, and in her past.
Then, on the evening of April 9, 1986, tragedy struck. A 911 call was made by Mary Faye that her husband had accidentally shot himself.
Two neighbors were summoned and “inadvertently” helped to compromise evidence at the scene before police arrive. Oddly, Robert’s children weren’t even notified and, at first, the death was ruled a suicide. When his family finally did receive word, and arrived at the funeral home for the wake, Robert’s brother David was amazed to find it was to be an open casket visitation.
This started him and the rest of the family to begin asking questions. Just what were the true facts surrounding the shooting?
Evidence indicated that General Sadler was shot from above and behind, with the gun some 15 to 16 inches from his head -- very unusual for a suicide. Mary Faye later used the story that they had grappled for the gun that Robert was carelessly cleaning and it accidentally went off. This also seemed unusual, since he was an accomplished and cautious gun owner. Far from despondent, he had been observed to be happy the day of the tragedy.
Eventually, the cause of his death was changed to “homicide.”
Over time, the plot thickened, -- with more irregularities about Mary Faye coming to light.
Three trials came to pass, and General Sadler’s memory and the family’s good name went on trial with Mary Faye.