Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The True Story of John Raymond "Woody" Woodring

Desperate Pleas

In 1992, Woodring married Lisa Maria Fisher from Cullowhee, N.C. According to their 1997 divorce decree, Woodring and Lisa had one child together. It is also stated in the paperwork that Lisa was entitled to the "return of her maiden name, Lisa M. Fisher."

John Raymond "Woody" Woodring
John Raymond "Woody" Woodring

Before the ink was dry on his divorce papers, Woodring had married his second wife at the Qualla Boundary Cherokee Reservation, where she was a tribal member. In September 1997, just one month after the couple was married, his wife filed for a restraining order. In a statement he made, filed with his wife's restraining order request, Woodring said he pushed her around and threatened to hit her during an argument "over differences" on Sept. 16, 1997. Woodring said he stopped only after she started to cry.

There was also a letter in the court file Woodring had written to his wife, begging her forgiveness.

"There is a lot more for us to do together," Woodring wrote. "Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up, and it sure would be nice to be back with my family. Remember Mingo Falls, the sound and the beauty of water running over the rocks, how peaceful it was? Our life can be like that, peaceful and beautiful. I miss being able to fall asleep beside you and waking up with you. Please come back into my life."

Despite Woodring's opposition, the restraining order was granted without delay and his wife abruptly left him.

Less than a month later, Woodring was arrested and charged with domestic violence. Woodring responded by taking out an advertisement in the Cherokee One Feather, a tribal newspaper. The ad, which included a photograph of the couple together, pleaded with Woodring's wife to come back and make the marriage work. The courts ruled his advertisement violated the restraining order, and Woodring was charged with contempt of court.

According to the Cherokee Indian Police Department reports, Woodring's violent behavior began to escalate; on March 1, 1998, he went to the home where his wife was staying, forced her onto a bed and punched her in the face. Since the assault occurred on a reservation, police charged him with a federal crime. He spent three days in jail before making bond. Less than three hours after his release, Woodring violated the restraining order again and went back to his wife's house. According to federal court records, he sneaked in a window, yanked the telephone cord out of the wall and threatened his wife, claiming he had a gun hidden in the woods. His wife somehow managed to escape and called the police from a neighbor's house. Four months later, her suit for divorce was granted. Court records indicate no further contact between the couple.

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