(NewsNation) — Pat Reilly, the attorney representing Gabby Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, claims that Roberta Laundrie’s ‘”burn after reading” letter, which was discussed in Sarasota County Circuit Court on Monday, is “self-serving.”
Roberta spoke out for the first time this week about the letter she wrote to her son, Brian Laundrie, that she claims has nothing to do with Gabby Petito, but rather is a “quirky” letter she wrote to help repair their relationship.
Reilly also said he thinks the letter will be made public before the trial.
Roberta’s attorneys filed a motion for a protective order seeking to block the attempts by Petito’s parents to make the letter written to Brian admissible as evidence in the upcoming civil trial between the two families.
In February, Reilly told NewsNation that the letter mentioned “burying a body” and to “burn after reading.” He also claimed the letter made references to a shovel, burying a body and helping Brian get out of prison.
In support of the motion against the letter becoming public, Roberta wrote a letter to the court claiming the “burn after reading” letter was written months before Gabby and Brian left on their cross-country road trip in the summer of 2021.
“Although I do not know the exact date I wrote the letter, I do know that I wrote it and gave it to Brian before Brian and Gabby left Florida for New York which was on June 2, 2021,” Roberta said.
She said she and Brian shared a love for books, such as “The Runaway Bunny” and “Little Bear.” She claims one such book, “Burn After Writing,” was often the subject of a joke between her, her son and Gabby Petito and is the reason she wrote “burn after reading” on the envelope that contained the letter to her son.
A notebook reportedly belonging to Brian, in which he claims responsibility for killing Gabby in September 2021, was publicly released by the Laundrie family attorney.
The writer of the confession admits to taking Gabby’s life.
“I ended her life, I thought it was merciful,” Brian reportedly wrote in the notebook. He claimed Petito was injured and in “extreme pain” before he killed her.
Gabby vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Brian in a converted camper van. The trip was well documented on social media until it abruptly ceased, allegedly somewhere in Wyoming.
She was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days. Gabby’s body was found Sept. 19 just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A Teton County coroner said Gabby died by strangulation three to four weeks before her body was found.
Brian was at the center of a nationwide search after Gabby vanished, a search that ended when his remains were found in October 2021, after more than a month of searching a 24,000-acre Florida nature reserve. A month later, authorities confirmed he’d died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The civil trial, which will be heard in front of a jury, is scheduled to begin in August 2023 in Sarasota County.
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