Note from Mass. man says 4-year-old son saw him fatally stab family at home after IRS fight

A man accused of killing his two young children, wife and mother-in-law left a note saying his 4-year-old son witnessed the killings before being slain himself, according to a summary of the case released Thursday.

Thomas Mortimer IV is accused of stabbing his relatives in June at their suburban Boston home after he and his wife argued about a bounced check to the Internal Revenue Service. Prosecutors have said the couple had "ongoing marital discord."

Mortimer, who grew up in Avon, Conn., revealed in a note he wrote after the killings that he was sorry his son, Thomas "Finn" Mortimer V, had witnessed them, prosecutors say.

"I especially sorry to Finn that he had to witness these horrid acts. It was not supposed to be this way. I disgust myself," the note said.

The statement was made public after The Associated Press and The Boston Globe fought efforts by Mortimer's defense to have it impounded. Most of the nine-page statement was released earlier this week. The four lines that describe the boy witnessing the killings were released Thursday after Mortimer's lawyer didn't appeal a court order to release them.

Mortimer's attorney, Denise Regan, initially asked that the entire statement stay sealed from public view. Later, she asked that only the four lines remain sealed. During a hearing earlier this month, she argued that the "highly inflammatory" information could "prejudice a vast array of jurors against him" and jeopardize his chance for a fair trial.

Regan could not immediately be reached for comment by telephone Thursday. A spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Mortimer has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing his wife, Laura Stone-Mortimer, her mother, Ragna Ellen Stone, and the couple's two children, Charlotte, 2, and Thomas.

Prosecutors say they found two copies of Mortimer's confession in the house in Winchester, a town of about 20,000 residents just north of Boston. They say Mortimer attempted suicide after the slayings.