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Meet the new Lovefraud author: Travis Vining, son of a sociopathic murderer

What’s it like to grow up with a father who is a sociopath—and you’re not?

Travis Vining knows. At least, he knows now, because when he was a child, even a young adult, he didn’t know that his father, John B. Vining, was a sociopath. Travis just knew that his father was fun, charming, the coolest guy around. All Travis’ friends liked his father. Travis, himself, idolized him.

The Vinings were a prominent, politically connected Miami family —Travis’ grandfather, E. Clyde Vining, was a real estate magnate. John B. Vining also went into real estate, and Travis grew up in a house on a lake with all the trappings of privilege.

Fraud and murder

But John B. Vining wasn’t content with real estate sales—he graduated to real estate swindles. He forged land titles and other documents in three real estate cons that could have netted him $1.6 million, but he got caught. In 1983, the con artist pleaded guilty to three counts of mail and wire fraud and was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

Vining was released in 1987. By this time he was 56 years old—and that’s when the real trouble started. Vining told two half-brothers from Washington, D.C. that he could sell them cocaine for $15,000 a kilogram, about a quarter of its value. Convincing the men he had buried the cocaine, he lured them into the woods—and shot them. Vining took their cash and left the bodies—which went unidentified for 17 years.

Shortly after that, Vining answered a newspaper ad placed by a Georgia Caruso, who had diamonds to sell. Vining accompanied Caruso to see gemologists, who appraised the diamonds for $60,000. A couple of weeks later, Caruso’s body was found in a field. She’d been shot twice in the head.

Kidnapping

In August 1989, Vining put an elaborate plan into action. He’d heard a rumor that Charles E. Fleming, a convicted Georgia drug kingpin, had hidden $3.5 million before he was arrested. Charles Fleming was still in prison, but his wife, Gail Fleming, was not. Vining and an accomplice went to Georgia and kidnapped the woman, locking her into a cage they’d constructed in the back of a van. They drove Gail Fleming around for hours, demanding to know where the money was, threatening to kill her. Eventually they left her, handcuffed and bound with duct tape, while they went into the woods and dug a grave.

The men pulled Fleming out of the van, carried her to the edge of the grave, and wrapped her head with duct tape, like a mummy. She couldn’t see, could barely hear, and had trouble breathing. One of the men grabbed Fleming and put a gun to her head. Then she heard muffled words, “Freeze! Police! Drop the gun!”

Kids had seen the two men carry Fleming from the van. They ran to a nearby store and called the police. Vining and his accomplice were arrested.

Death row

John B. Vining was convicted of murder in the Georgia Caruso case in 1990, and sentenced to death.

For years, Travis Vining suppressed many memories of his father’s crimes. In fact, it wasn’t until 2004 that he remembered hearing the story about the two drug dealers from Washington. Travis then told the police what he knew, and his father was convicted of those murders as well.

John B. Vining is currently on Florida’s death row. (Type “Vining, John” into the name fields for details.)

Healing

When he was young, Travis Vining berated himself for not having the stomach to do what his father, the tough guy, did. But now Travis recognizes that his father is a criminal sociopath, and he is grateful that he did not follow those evil footsteps.

Travis went to college and married. He started a family and a business. And during those intervening years, he healed from the experiences of his youth.

For the first time, Travis is telling his story, here on Lovefraud. He hopes that by sharing his experiences, describing how they felt at the time, and relating his path to healing, that he can help you recover from your entanglements with these predators. His posts will be appearing on Wednesdays.


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19 Comments on "Meet the new Lovefraud author: Travis Vining, son of a sociopathic murderer"

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theholeinwashington: This question comes up all the time. It also happened to me when I was victimized by my bosses and the judge didn’t want to hear my case due to politics.

1. We have to remember what types of personalities sit on the court. Highly intelligent people, with long history of studies behind them.

2. Is the judge humble, or is the judge arrogant and full of him/herself?

3. Is your case a political powder keg?

4. Does the judge read and know and is guided by the Bible? I say this because our country, our forefathers founded this country on the wisdom learned, lived and obtained from the Bible.

5. What court oversees the judge sitting in on your case? Same goes with the higher court, do these people read, comprehend, make their decisions based on our Bible … the word of God (wisdom).

This is what the problem is with our country. Our fore fathers read and lived their lives by the wisdom obtained in the Bible. Now, we are many generations removed from those said forefathers … and the arrogance building up in this country is beyond out of control. People wearing robes overseeing our court system and lawyers, who are officers of the court … egos are out of control … does anyone of them read and live their lives by the Bible anymore … or are they too busy maneuvering and being ruthless by reading all their texts in their legal libraries without realizing those decisions came down generations ago, when their predecessors READ, obtained wisdom and lived their lives based on the BIBLE… aka Wisdom of Solomon theory.

Since, you are in court in the current time frame, I would just ask the judge how well versed they are in reading and obtaining wisdom from the Bible?

I know for me personally, I was violated over and over again due to my situation with arrogant, manipulative, insecure individuals which happened to be political … and wisdom from the Bible didn’t exists in my situation, politics ruled over everything pertaining to my situation how they destroyed my life to save their own careers (this is justice?)… to this day, as I blogg … I don’t think anyone involved in my situation every opened the Bible and read it.

I think all of us, should voice our concerns that man’s arrogance has taken over this country and that we should start all over again, go back to the roots of our ancestors and bring the wisdom obtained from the Bible to guide us in rebuilding this country and all the institutions in it as well as the humans that live in it.

Peace and God Bless.

Washington

High Conflict INST. these are the Proffesionals!

LOVE jere

Wini said: Since, you are in court in the current time frame, I would just ask the judge how well versed they are in reading and obtaining wisdom from the Bible?

I, personally, think to do the above would be a really bad idea.

Jen2008: That could get them a contempt of court in a hurry… but then again, that would let them know who they are dealing with.

Peace.

I agree Jen. It would not just be a bad idea but would also be unconstitutional and could possibly cause huge issues.

theholeinwashington:

I feel your pain. I, too, became involved in a custody battle. with a P. I went into the process with nothing but “claims” of his mental and physical abuse, alcoholism and a pattern of really sick behavior. I believed that once he got on the stand and “swore to the the whole truth,” it would all come out. Boy, was I naive! Even the items I had that could be “proven” were explained away by the P with these elaborate, twisted tales. I’m not sure if the judge bought it or not, but the ruling wasn’t as stiff as I thought it would be for someone so sick. Not uncommon, from what I hear. I was once told family court is more like church than criminal court – lots of opportunities for redemption.

I think the important thing to remember – we’ve heard it so many times – is the P can’t help but be a P, so eventually he (or she) will reveal his true colors. It then becomes a waiting game…waiting for him to slip up, and then having everything in place to document and prove it.

With that said, you do lose some of your life and yourself, in the process. It becomes a constant inner battle between “do I want to spend my life fighting this person?” and “I owe it to my kids to keep them safe”.

Subsequently, in the past few years, my P has proven himself over and over. You need to remember that he can’t help it. You would think that when all eyes are on him (courts, psychologists), he would be on his best behavior. In the beginning, I thought, “he’s too smart. He won’t mess up”, but his ego gets in the way of clear thinking. He believes he’s smarter than everyone and that he can get out of any situation. He’s slippery, for sure, but I wait, watch, and document. It has worked in my favor.

Time is your friend, even if you don’t see it now. If you are of “a healthy mind”, it shouldn’t be a struggle for you to be a good person and live well. On the flip side, your P is just playing the part of a good person, which takes work and can’t go on forever.

Patience..

Strangely, a lot of judges are still old fashioned enough to quote the Bible and even thump it from time to time. But since we can’t pick the judge the way we pick the attorney, I think the best thing to do is focus on winning the war, and not get obsessed with winning every battle.

From what I’ve experienced, like all people, professional or otherwise, the judge is either wise to the actions of sociopaths, or not yet enlightened.. you can get widely different results from different judges, cops, attorneys, therapists, etc. etc.

Some of them pick up on what’s really going on right away, and some just don’t get it. If you try to “teach” them while you’re in their court, it will only make you look even crazier in their eyes. Where kids are involved, especially, it’s a long, long struggle for their hearts and minds.. the best thing you can do is take a deep breath, be nice to yourself, be consistent, and never, never, never, never ever give up.

Dear Kat: That’s why it is good to practice before hand to get your emotions under control.

I practiced with my family and friends to take insults. They would cut me off from speaking the truth. Cut me off from telling the bigger picture. Talk down to me etc. It was painful, yes, but it helped me control any outburst I should have that would bring me down to tears. It helped me toughen myself up so that I could stay patient to hearing any of their insults. Patient when they put me down as a control technique. Patient, patient, patient so I would NOT react to any of their nonsense. I could put it into perspective that I was dealing with FOOLS. All of them showing how foolish they really were.

Yes, you can never know what any one is going to ask of you, or how they will ask it … but you can practice being patient when dealing with FOOLS and their foolish questions, FOOLS with their ignorance of putting you down to put you in some place that they have control over.

Peace.

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