was on one of those afternoons that he went through his parents’ belongings and discovered his father’s semiautomatic pistol and a box of bullets, which were kept in his dresser drawer.
At the time of the shooting, the Wursts had been having trouble in their marriage, which created great tension in the household. In his report, Sadoff noted that the Wursts had several fights, some of them physical, which the boys sometimes saw. As a result, the Wursts had kept separate bedrooms in the home for the previous three years. How did this affect Andrew? Several of his friends and classmates knew about the tension between Andrew’s parents and his unhappiness about it. Sometime after the shooting, Andrew’s mother moved out of the family home, and the couple has divorced.
One source of conflict was Andrew himself. Compared with his other sons, Mr. Wurst found Andrew to be lazy and immature, and he wanted him to work harder to help the family business. Andrew resented his father’s expectations, telling one friend that he felt trapped into going into the landscaping business. Andrew’s mother was inclined to cut Andrew some slack, allowing him to stay home instead of working. She realized Andrew was less mature than Peter and Patrick, but simply thought that he was different from the other boys—less physical, more sensitive, the “baby” of the family. Many times the parents disagreed over how Andrew should be disciplined or what kinds of privileges he should have. Andrew may have found this inconsistency to be confusing, Sadoff wrote in his report.
After the shooting, this conflict between the parents made it difficult for them to agree on a defense strategy, with Andrew’s mother more inclined to pursue every legal avenue open to them, and his father more resigned to Andrew having to face severe punishment. The Wursts had to remortgage their family home to raise the funds for his defense.
Andrew’s mother told Sadoff that Andrew had been caught drinking with friends at the house. In fact, she had suspected that he’d been sneaking whiskey for several months. After the shooting, the Wursts learned for the first time that one of Andrew’s older brothers had caught him smoking marijuana in the bathroom and beat him up for it.
Andrew’s mother also told Sadoff that she and her husband had not been aware of Andrew’s depression or his suicidal thinking until they found his suicide note after the shooting, which devastated them. Later, police investigators searching Andrew’s school locker found a note labeled “Andy’s Will.” In a childish scrawl, Andrew had written that one of his friends should receive his music CDs. Another student told police that his friend had been surprised to find the note in his notebook, and that a teacher had confiscated the note and sent him to the school office with it. The Wursts do not recall learning about this from school officials.