Pete Selis looked like a friendly guy on the outside, but inside, his lawyer said he sensed a combustible combination of anxiety and depression.
"He wasn’t an angry person," said bankruptcy attorney Steven Houbeck, who met with Selis often to discuss his Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. "He was not rude, but you could just sense the grey cloud hanging over him. You could sense that deep, deep tension and anxiety within him. He was just trying to survive."
Selis and his estranged second wife had serious financial troubles. The couple's 2015 bankruptcy filing showed they had just over $14,000 in assets, but liabilities topping $108,000.
"We were helping him keep his head above water," explained Houbeck, who said Selis tried to stay positive but was having a hard time facing his financial pressures. “He just explained to me it just seems like I just can’t breathe. I’m just being squeezed everywhere. I can’t make enough money."
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Houbeck said Selis was trying to provide for the needs of his three children and two step-children. He went on to call Selis a "ticking time bomb."
He thought Selis would reach a breaking point, but said he never believed his client would resort to violence against others.
"I think he just reached a point where he just gave up, just gave up and then took his sadness and despair out on innocent people that had done absolutely nothing to him," Houbeck said. "He just exploded."