Update: Did not see this press release yesterday. It explains more about the approach to the series and mentions victims! I’m still worried this will romanticize one person (Michelle), but she did write the book!
I didn’t realize HBO was going to drop the teaser on Sunday and it did catch me a bit off-guard. I always do my best to share real-time feelings about these things, so let’s do that. I’m writing first because I need to be thoughtful about what I say.
It’s no secret I didn’t know who Michelle McNamara was or that she was working on a book. I blogged about that as part of the book event held in Citrus Heights, attended by Patton Oswalt, Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen.
Michelle didn’t talk to the Smith’s for the book, and as I mentioned, instead referred to a series of articles that I probably hate more than anything else out there because it was inaccurate, salacious and forgot a whole kid – my brother Jay. How can someone pretend to be a reporter and literally leave out a child. It caused hurt and it stuck in my craw. I was doing interviews – always willing to help anyone or anything that would help catch our killer. But we didn’t hear a word from anyone on the McNamara team. I’ll admit, it’s disappointing. But that’s history, let’s move forward.
HBO did many interviews with the victims
I can’t talk about it in-depth, but I assume they also did interviews with law enforcement and others who dedicated their lives to finding this man. I hope they did. The victims I’ve spoken with about the interviews thought they were comprehensive, thoughtful and for us, deeply personal. For some, it’s the first time they’ve publicly told their stories. While I can’t speak for the others, I know I was honest, vulnerable and willing to help HBO tell our story. The reason I did it was specifically to respect my dad and stepmom who were robbed of their lives at the hands of a maniac.
The intersection of entertainment and true crime
One benefit I have about telling my story is I don’t have to answer to anyone other than my family. Whatever I do, I try to do it thoughtfully because isn’t just my story, it belongs to my brothers too. I also don’t do it for entertainment. I mean if you are entertained, that’s great, but for me, it’s real-time therapy as I work to understand everything happening and essentially summarize it for consumption. When I’m writing or talking, I feel more like a teacher than anything else.
But now imagine being a studio that must profit off the storytelling. The book gets optioned – meaning they license the rights to make a film based on the book – and now you must create something that will make money for the studio. How do you do that? What creative choices will you make? Will you include some “star power” to make sure it has mass market appeal? Will you conduct re-enactments to depict the crimes? Will you edit interviews in a way that increases the entertainment value while maybe compromising the intent? This is the hot mess that truly lies in the hands of the creative team.
I have zero clue about how HBO will do this. I’ve already exchanged tweets with Liz Garbus, Director, yesterday (and she’s agreed to an interview later!), and she shared one from Kris Pedretti (victim #10 and her tweet is gold). Liz’s reputation is outstanding and I have faith in her desire to tell our story with compassion and empathy. Not only that, but her team sang her praises and comported themselves in a way that’s consistent with what I learned about her.
Then why did the teaser knock me sideways
Man, the teaser bugs me. It’s bugging a few of the victims. But we also know, we need to get over ourselves. I think the first misstep was setting our expectations – and honestly, I even think they intended to manage this – but it just got bungled. We did hear promotion would be starting soon. What we didn’t hear was it would 100% focus on Michelle. It’s nothing like what we expected – and it’s just a teaser– we get it. It’s entertainment first and then it’s storytelling. It’s a sixty second teaser. Get a grip. You’re in marketing Jen, what part of this surprises you?
Just the part where I let my guard down.
Seriously. I also wasn’t prepared for the squeals of delight on Billy Jensen’s twitter feed as his fans, and let’s be honest, he has fans and that’s a good thing, but his fans are super happy for him. Alas, all I could think today was damn folks, people died. People were raped. So many lives were tipped over because of DeAngelo, but sure, add memes and emojis and celebrate. How’s that for some honestly. It is hard to look at but that’s only because it’s inherently weird that other people are making money off your traumatic event. I’ve talked about the Golden State Killer economy. With a few exceptions, I don’t have a problem with it.
This is just the beginning
It’s a teaser designed to sell the series. Got it. It’s going to play out over six episodes, and I believe will tell the story from many points of view. My hope is it champions the strength of the people who’ve survived. My hope is this will help people understand what happened in the 70s and 80s. My hope is we get DeAngelo in a courtroom so this perpetual anxiety I have that this guy’s going to escape conviction by dying finally disappears.
I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts about the teaser. Leave a comment here or chat me up on Twitter!
Kris Pedretti was victim 10. At that time, the East Area Rapist had barely been acknowledged as a repeat offender. Kris was 15, a church girl who was incredibly innocent and extremely good-hearted. Within 90 minutes, Joseph DeAngelo (DNA guilty) stole her innocence and changed the course of her life. And yet, she’s moved from being a survivor to being an advocate.
It’s taken her over forty years to tell her story.
When I first met her, we just connected. She, along with Carol Daly, essentially became the Den Mothers for a group of survivors who honestly never expected to come together in the way we have (Kris’ backyard is my little heaven). That’s due, in part, to the generosity and empathy that is core to who Kris is. She’s my Sacramento bestie and she’s telling her story – with confidence – as she becomes an advocate for other victims of abuse who haven’t had to courage to tell their stories.
This is a summary of my March 5, 2020 podcast, DeAngelo Wants to Plea. You can listen to the podcast here or search Lawyer’s Daughter on Spotify, TuneIn, Apple Pods, Google Play Music and PodBean. As always, I appreciate your ratings, reviews and sharing with your family and friends.
On Tuesday, March 4, when I was preparing to do my first talk in Santa Cruz around four o’clock, I saw a notification come through on my phone from Reddit that said JJD is going to plea. And I stopped breathing. I held my breath as I just stared at it. Folks ask, how did it feel? Well, it felt like all the feelings.
I think physiologically, my body flooded with adrenaline. I felt cold and hot. I felt completely confused. It was almost like I got punched. I was really mad that it happened at that moment because I was already working up confidence to do my live talk for the first time; I was putting a lot of energy into preparing. As soon I calmed myself I bit, I immediately started investigating.
Hidden in a footnote, DeAngelo is willing to plea.
I started looking and found out it was something that Paige St. John had found in a footnote on a motion that was filed by the defense. Buried in the Motion to Dismiss, the defense slipped it into a footnote. This motion is looking to six-furcate (my word because bifurcate isn’t applicable here), the cases by jurisdiction. When the prosecution decided to prosecute everything in Sacramento, I started calling it the big gulp.
The prosecution did this in April of 2019 if I have my facts right. There are a couple of reasons why this big gulp strategy is important. First, it makes the prosecution big. As you can imagine, we’re going into a trial that’s got all this stuff happening from all these jurisdictions. So that’s a big deal. And second, it makes it expensive. Prosecutors from the different jurisdictions must come to Sacramento. It could be argued it reduces costs by requiring only one jury, one judge, etc. I’m not a bean counter – either way, we are spending money. This request from the defense would basically disassemble the approach.
Meanwhile, the defense has also asked for money from the different jurisdictions. Now, take a minute and realize what we’ve done here. In America, we believe in law and order. We believe in justice. And our tax dollars are used to support that legal system. And ironically enough, our tax dollars are paying for D’Angelo’s defense. That is how we fund the public defender’s office. It comes from the Sacramento County budget.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to ask for money and or other resources from the different jurisdictions, because that really should be a shared financial responsibility when it comes to defending D’Angelo. That shouldn’t that burden shouldn’t fall wholly on Sacramento County.
The question I have is why did they wait till now? The prosecution made this clear that this is how we were proceeding months ago. It seems odd. I feel like this defense team just woke up since the January hearing. The judge said, no, we’re not getting a continuance until January 2021. No, we’re not going to sit around and wait for you to go through all that discovery you’ve had forever. Let’s get it together here. Let’s prioritize. (Okay, he didn’t say those last two things – I’m just saying that on his behalf.)
The idea is we’ve got to move forward. That’s the point. And I wish I could have been in court the cheering when he said that – I was home sick with Norovirus. He set the date for May 12th, and that’s just about eight weeks out. And just like that, things finally started to happen.
Anxiety is increasing among those who’ll have to testify.
They knew it conceptually, but this made it very real. This is especially true among the people who are being asked to testify, relative to the kidnapping charges. Those are the rape charges and not the murder charges. In the rape charges, where a person was moved or there was some sort of act that was considered kidnapping, those became charges that could still be applied and weren’t affected by the statute of limitations. And they also helped with special circumstances, which are required for the death penalty request.
As you can imagine, those folks who are scheduled to testify are starting to get anxious. And that’s hard. I guess we’re unique because as victims, we became a squad.
Not everybody has joined us. Some folks have remained anonymous and I’m sorry, they haven’t. They’re really missing one of the most healing parts of this whole thing. For those of us who do get together, we’re working hard to support one another.
We’ve discovered, now there are two groups of victims.
First there are those that have cases that cannot be tried. All of the rapes hit the statute of limitations. With the exception of the cases with new kidnapping charges, the rapes victims are not part of the active group. The second groups are the victims who have charges that can be applied. This is suddenly an odd shift to the murders from Southern California.
If you think about it, at least I grew up thinking the murder first was a murder in a small town. When I heard about the other murders in Southern California, I considered myself part of that group. Absolutely. As those as we were all connected through DNA. When our murders suddenly connected to the rapes in Sacramento (and beyond), I instantly identified with the people in Sacramento.
These are my people. I’ve spent so much time, so much of my life has been spent in Sacramento – gramma lived here, I went to UC Davis and Sac State. It’s always felt like a second home to me. When we came together, we were all one. But now there’s a slightly different dynamic going on.
And I don’t think it’s particularly playing out in terms of our relationships.
But some of us, including me, feel like we are representing those that don’t get to have a voice in this right now; those that don’t have active charges. These are the things nobody talks about. But it really is interesting how the legal system has an impact even on relationships, even on your ability to be a victim and how that works. And that’s absolutely in play.
Let’s go back to DeAngelo being willing to plea.
Why was that put in writing? Because the minute you write down that someone is willing to plea you taint the prospective jury pool because you’ve essentially said your client’s willing to plead guilty. We don’t have any information on what he’s willing to plead guilty to, but I sense the defense isn’t focused on the what. How do we possibly move forward at this point? I mean, this is really screwed up if you think about it.
I wonder about legal malpractice. I cannot think of a case, and I’d love folks to let me know if they have any examples of where that kind of information was leaked publicly. I’m really pissed about how this is being handled.
This is classic D’Angelo: controlling the narrative.
I am so tired of this man who lived his full 72 years out in the wild doing all these awful things, but also having his nice little middle age, and early senior years, living undetected without any constraints, without any rules – living in Citrus Heights, doing his thing, fishing, riding his motorcycle, being a jerk.
He’s been out there and now he gets to control the narrative when it comes to how we’re going to find him guilty. I’m hot about this. I don’t want any part of this. At a minimum, I feel like a plea is too soon. At a minimum, we should have this prelim that’s coming up in May. And here’s why: there are still people who aren’t sure he’s the guy.
Innocent until proven guilty.
This is truly how it’s supposed to work. It’s the responsibility of the prosecution to prove that this man is guilty. Maybe we have the wrong guy. I don’t think that’s possible because SCIENCE (DNA), but I’m going to give nonbelievers the benefit of the doubt. Then let’s go ahead and move into the prelim. Another very big reason why a prelim is important: DeAngelo didn’t just hurt humans and families, but he terrorized whole communities. I feel it’s his civic responsibility to sit in a courtroom for at least eight to 12 weeks before copping a plea.
He needs to face his accusers and listen to all the evidence that supports holding him over to trial. That is the point of the prelim: to show there is enough evidence to bind him over to trial. And after we all hear that; after we hear the evidence – I know I know there’s evidence beyond DNA – then he can make a plea. And that can work through the plea process.
But let’s go ahead and move with this prelim. I think it’s owed to far more than just the victims. It is owed to all of us who lived in fear. I lived in fear for decades. I didn’t even know there was a serial killer that I was afraid of for the first 20 years. I thought there was just a crazy person who hated my dad and Charlene. Around 2000, I find out.
That coincided to exactly to when I had Katie. Suddenly I felt more vulnerable than I’ve ever felt in my life because now there was a bad guy out there and I didn’t have any idea what he might do next. Based on his behavior in Sacramento, I knew he’d revisit the crimes by calling people that he had hurt before.
In our case, he didn’t have my dad and Charlene to call. He only had his kids. I did feel vulnerable and I did feel afraid. I did wacky things like bells on doors and having a bat by my bed. So many of us did things to protect ourselves. That’s why it’s really important to me that he have to sit in court for at least the prelim.
What will he tell us if he does negotiate a plea?
I have had my expectations set that he is not inclined to share information with us. He is not inclined in any way to help us feel better about what’s happened. He’s not inclined in any way to make this any easier on anybody but himself. If we move forward with a plea without him having to ever walk into a real courtroom, he wins.
Once again, he’s controlling the narrative and he’s controlling the outcome. And I’m so over that. So one of the things that. So where we are. So one of the things that’s happened that came out the news in the last two days, I think is that it is true that I believe it’s only the people that have charges pending, got letters from the defense.
When it all comes down to it, the elected District Attorneys are the deciders. So maybe this really is up to you, the constituents. The DA’s represent you. Let them know what you want in this case.
I was roasted on Reddit* the other day – totally unexpected – and it seems like things got weird when someone accused me of posting to promote my coaching business. Of course, my website has my coaching business on it, but that wasn’t why I was there. I was just participating in the discussion like everyone else, and then suddenly I was defending myself. It’s the first time that’s happened in two years since I went public.
Let’s start at the top: the prosecution and defense of DeAngelo.
There’s no doubt there’s a Golden State Killer economy. Holy smokes; it starts with the $20M price tag that prompted AB 141 to pay for jurisdictional expenses “incurred in connection with the prosecution and defense of Joseph DeAngelo.” There are a lot of people getting paid to try and defend this case. There are lawyers and researchers, scientists and testing facilities, computer experts and investigators and legions more who are working for both sides. We are nothing if not job security as this case is being prepped for the prelim. Also, don’t forget travel and housing expenses as teams from around the state come in and out of Sacramento to move things froward. We can debate if this level of expense is necessary, (and goodness knows I will in an upcoming blog), but let’s just accept this at face value. If we ever get to trial, chances are, this cost will likely increase.
Then there’s the content value of the case itself.
News, movies, documentaries, books, podcasts, blogs – some of these are highly monetized and some make no money at all. We all know when HBO or Michelle McNamara are telling the story, the intention is to make money. Not the only intention, but let’s accept one chooses that approach because there’s money to be made. Maybe that’s a better way to say it. I’m not casting blame here, merely noting there’s an economy in play and we all participate in it. In this category, I believe these folks truly care about the subject matter and the victims. I’ve worked with some of these folks and I’ve found them to be credible.
But we also have the exploiters. The folks whose sole motivation is money. They aren’t interested in the truth and have no interest in the victims, they are only interested in selling their product. I encourage everyone to keep their eye out for these folks; they are fairly transparent and tend to have a pattern to their behavior like focusing on click-bait, lying and repetition of same themes.
And then there are the victims; have they made money? Do they make money?
The honest answer is no, with a few exceptions. For the most part, any of us who are making money off the crime have been remarkably transparent. Jane Sandler-Carson wrote a book (not an affiliate link). That’s legit. She lived the experience; she did the work to write the book and she lives her truth. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been paid for any television appearances. There’s one activity where some folks got an unexpected honorarium, but I can’t disclose it and when I finally can, it won’t surprise you. And it wasn’t much.
Victims aren’t making bank on this. In fact, generally we are all financially poorer because of DeAngelo’s crimes and arrest. Of the victims I know, we are out-of-pocket on therapy, time away from work for hearings and other legal proceedings. Some of us travel to Sac to participate in these activities and have hotel bills. If there’s one thing the “true crime” industry has done that’s a disservice to victims, it’s the implication that everyone is making money.
We simply aren’t.
It’s maybe the saddest part of the Golden State Killer economy. Yes, there are some Victim Assistance programs but they vary by jurisdiction and they are publicly funded so there aren’t deep pockets. Honestly, many of us are doing okay and feel like those funds should be used by people with greater need.
So back to Reddit and the great Jen Carole takedown.
Let’s get real. I don’t make money on my blog. You can do a quick check and see there’s no advertising. In fact, when I tried some affiliate ads, I got no clicks (and I was highly selective). Why? Because that’s not what my blog is about. Yep, it’s just me, the website (I pay for) and my computer.
It is the same for my podcast. Honestly, the reason I stopped doing it is I had to work and didn’t have time to dedicate to doing it well. I would very much like to sell my podcast and get paid to do it so I can afford to attend the preliminary trial in May. I am transparently sharing that with you. I have no idea if I can sell it. My coaching business is how I figured I could earn a living while attending court because I can coach in off-hours. My LawyersDaughter.com audience is not my coaching target. That’s why I have two URLs (that I pay for): one for my business and one for this journey.
I don’t intend to sound defensive. I just reread this blog and I still might. That’s truly not my point. My point is, if DeAngelo died tomorrow, this little economy is a house of cards. It all falls down with a few exceptions. I think the highly developed content will have a longer lifespan, but most of what’s been created around this [expletive deleted] criminal will fall by the wayside. As it should. And if you don’t believe me, just look at Casey Anthony and Scott Peterson, both who are realizing they are beyond irrelevant. So how do they goose the system to try and make money? They exploit it. Sickening.
On behalf of the victims, we appreciate your goodwill. We have no intention of exploiting it. We will take the opportunity to support ourselves if it makes sense. If you feel we have crossed a line, please speak to us directly. Otherwise know, you’ve bet on the right people in this hot mess.
And it’s appreciated.
*This did not happen in the EARONS sub-Reddit. I traveled outside our group and I will never do that again! The EARONS community has been amazing and honestly, along with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and those of you that read this blog, have been so supportive. It’s the reason I have the courage to do these speaking engagements.
March 2020 – Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Ventura
I’m coming to town in March. Absolutely free. Get a ticket by clicking on the graphic!
It’s fall and we have a new house in Sacramento! I won’t be living there full time but at least I can come up and hang-out now – for at least as long as the kiddo can handle me. It’s just a bus ride away from court so I’m ready baby. Bring it on!
Ever since the last hearing in August, I’ve been thinking a lot about the health and well-being of DeAngelo. He has lost considerable weight. Enough, in my humble opinion, to make me wonder if he’s getting enough nutrition to stay coherent. I have no idea if he’s eating and what he’s eating. I realize he has very little to live for, but at a minimum there are three daughters who deserve to work through this with him. And at least one grandchild. His legacy will haunt them for the rest of their lives; he should at least make time for them. To my knowledge, this hasn’t happened. But if it has, good. They deserve answers.
The DOJ said, “that two primary causes for jail suicide exist: (1) jail environments are conducive to suicidal behavior and (2) the inmate is facing a crisis situation. From the inmate’s perspective, certain features of the jail environment enhance suicidal behavior: fear of the unknown, distrust of an authoritarian environment, perceived lack of control over the future, isolation from family and significant others, shame of incarceration, and perceived dehumanizing aspects of incarceration.” read more
Whose responsibility is his health and well-being?
It’s interesting, I’ve been asking this question of lots of people, but I never get the same answer. Some say it’s the jail. Some say it’s a medical professional. Some have pointed to the District Attorney (in this case, Sacramento’s since he’s lodged in their county jail). Others have said it’s his attorneys’ job. Here’s the code on imprisonment, it goes on forever, but I can’t find the part where someone actually owns responsibility. It seems as though it’s up to someone, at some point, to decide he needs medical help. My issue is, without clear definition, this seems woefully ambiguous. The easiest way to ask the question (especially in a post-Epstein world), who will be held accountable if he dies or suffers mental decline? Seems like we should have a name.
Is it ethical to let him starve or choose to starve himself?
I have been searching for an ethicist with whom I could discuss this topic, but I’ve had no luck. In fact, in doing a quick survey of the literature I could find online, this issue hasn’t even been academically tackled in a long time. Most articles are from the last century or early 2000s. I feel like maybe we are all in denial about this. (Author Al Tompkins has written a good article about suicide in jails – versus prisons – in August of 2019. Interesting read.)
So without outside help, you get to think about this with me: he has not been convicted. He’s a suspect and while we (The People) are detaining him based on good evidence, he’s still – theoretically – innocent and entrusted to our care as an un-convicted suspect. Do we owe him more because of this? Do we have a duty to keep him from hurting himself, or more importantly, to keep him cognitively sound until he has a trial? What if he was allowed to starve, stop getting nutrition and then claim he’s mentally unsound for trial? Who worries about that besides me?
If he dies without conviction, what would that mean?
For me, it’s easy. The minute my District Attorney told me it was a 100% DNA match to what was found in Charlene, I knew we had the right guy. I don’t need a trial or all the other claptrap. He’s guilty in my mind and I’m good. But for many, they want to see him convicted. I’ve had some survivors tell me they wish they’d simply prosecute Ventura – because it’s pretty open and shut – so at least he’s been found guilty of that crime. It’s absolutely possible that he won’t make it long enough to stand trial for all the crimes for which he’s charged. I bet there are odds somewhere. Many might feel cheated if he dies without a conviction.
For others, they want a chance to confront him. They have waited a lifetime to have their moment in court. It’s bad enough most of the rape victims won’t get to face him, but several will that have the kidnapping charge as part of their crime. While they struggle to deal with the idea of testifying, there is some comfort in knowing they got to face him in court. It would be awful to cheat them of this.
For a long time, confronting him wasn’t even on my radar. But over the months, I’ve changed. Now I do want to see him sit at the defense table and face his accusers. I won’t be an accuser, I won’t be testifying, but I can vicariously experience that confrontation. All I know is right now, it’s very unsatisfying not to be able to speak to him. It’s one of our most human traits and yet, it’s simply not allowed. I suppose I should consider that a gift. I’m pretty sure nothing decent would come out of my mouth.
Sacramento County, please don’t mess this up.
I’ll continue to ask questions and seek to understand. I hope there is someone in Sacramento County who is taking responsibility for DeAngelo’s physical and mental health. At this point, his work here is not done. He might think taking the easy way out is his best option, but no. He still has work to do. He needs to sit with himself as he wastes in jail. He needs to have the awareness that we know him now and live with the consequences.
He has a duty to his family. He has a duty to his victims. He has a duty to everyone who lived in fear because of his horrendous behavior.
Epstein is dead. I did not see that coming. Sometimes I am so naïve. I think good things happen to people who are good. I think the bad guy gets caught. I might as well add unicorns and fairies to my list because I’m clearly delusional. I heard one Epstein victim anger crying this morning because she’ll never get to face him and hold him accountable. Kinda relatable.
This justice thing is exhausting.
I don’t have to tell the thousands of you out there who are still pursuing answers for your cold cases, your rape, or your abuser that the pursuit of justice is tiring. I follow many of you on Twitter and I watch and support your efforts to keep hope alive: to fight for answers, seek justice, pursue the truth. But it can be so slow and painful and sometimes we just want to give up.
I totally get it. I lived 20 years thinking my dad and Charlene were killed by a local. Someone in their world who had had enough. Maybe a boyfriend of Charlene’s. Maybe a business deal where my dad was just a bit too clever and screwed someone over. Never did I think it was a stranger; that it was not motivated by passion or jealousy or anger. Low and behold, it turned out to be a demon. Pure evil. Or was it?
Oddly I have spent this summer binging on horror movies.
Some have been really good and some have been awful (my little list below). All of them, for me, have been funny. That’s because I don’t believe in demons. I don’t. Having lived for almost another 20 years in fear of an unknown assailant, who had eluded the law and managed to hurt so many people, I’ve had my fill of fear.
I do think, maybe, there are monsters. Sociopaths who don’t belong with the rest of us. People who have no empathy, sympathy or connection to others. I suspect they do have feelings, but they aren’t like the feelings we have. I suspect their feelings are more like a hunger or compulsion to do the evil they do. And whether or not the monster has been caught, all the waiting is so damn cruel.
I think that’s what makes “justice fatigue” so much harder.
Justice presumes the bad person will get what he or she deserves. That’s a good outcome for normal fuck-ups. Humans make mistakes – sometimes bad ones – and there should be consequences. As I write this time is still ticking on an acquaintance who committed several bank robberies and crossed state lines in the melee and he’s still serving his 35 years. Basically, his whole adulthood. Ironically, he’s at peace with the consequence. Hopefully he’ll be paroled next year and he has every intention of quietly trying to make a contribution and live a good life. That’s how it should work.
Instead, whether we are searching for or have arrested a real monster – DeAngelo, Epstein, this trash human in El Paso – justice turns into an obscene dance that’s about everyone else except the monster and the victims. For those with a vested interest, I don’t know, say like the victims, it becomes an uncomfortable journey of hearings, news stories, missing the point, speculation, and fatigue. And this is what happens when someone gets caught. We know there are many, many others out there who haven’t been arrested. Some are monsters and some are just really bad people.
I don’t have a remedy, but I encourage you not to give up.
Justice fatigue, regardless of whether or not your crime has been solved, is just that. Instead of drowning in it, I encourage you to name it, put it in a jar and set it on the shelf. For many of us, we might not get the answers we seek. But I assure you, if your intentions are honest and your efforts sincere, you’re creating energy that helps us all. I am buoyed by those who won’t give up. We all have days when a pity party is justified. But when you’re done being sad and frustrated, get back to work.
If you need help, join me on Twitter @jcarole. There’s a whole squad there who fight through justice fatigue every damn day.
Jen’s Little List of Summer 2019 Horror Movies on Netflix
It’s 4am as I start this because I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s beyond my belief. I have to get this off my chest because what happened yesterday was absolute garbage. Regardless of your position on the death penalty, that’s not what this is about. No, it’s possible for everyone to have their own point of view on the death penalty. That’s how it works. What happened yesterday was not about the death penalty: it was about politics and we were used without our consent. (Disclaimer: written while triggered and sleep deprived. There are bound to be typos here.)
Think about that. Victims of the Visalia Ransacker, East Area Rapist and the Original Nightstalker: now collectively known as the Golden State Killer Survivors, were once again victimized, in broad daylight, without any single member of the prosecution considering how we might feel about what went down yesterday.
I call it crashing thoughts. When my front brain can’t keep up with all the crap my back brain is processing.
Our gathering yesterday was weird. I’ll write it up, but I need to jump around a bit to explain what’s going on. I left the afternoon event yesterday feeling strange; like in my body. I felt anxious and sad and a feeling of dread, but I didn’t know what the feelings were attached to, so I called mom and rattled off the headlines. Typically when I make her listen to me (let’s call a spade a spade here, she rarely gets a word in edgewise), I can sort out my thoughts and feelings. Here’s what I shared with her:
The Planned Parenthood event moved me. Hearing stories from women and men about their healthcare journeys reinvigorated my commitment to female equality and the right to healthcare. The speakers discussed several laws being written today that are designed to take away a woman’s right to make decisions about her body. Decisions being made by politicians; not doctors and families. If you have never had a transvaginal ultrasound, you don’t get a vote in this one. I had several during fertility treatments. Nobody buys you a drink afterward. I understand this might sound like noise to some, but watch The Handmaid’s Tale if your imagination stops there.
Yesterday, I got to meet Mr. Harrington for the first time. Just in front of the doors of the courtroom, he was talking to a large press gaggle and I assumed, “of course, it’s the first time he’s shown up here, makes sense.” He told the story of his murder – his brother and wife – and as he described it, I teared-up because the Harrington story is the closest to ours and his description was vivid and incredibly relatable for me. I’ve always identified with the Harrington case because the murders were so similar. I stepped away as I felt the tears coming. When Mr. Harrington emerged from the building, I introduced myself and cried again because I had looked forward to meeting him at some point. Remember, for me it’s been 20 years that this family has been part of my story. HBO was freaking everywhere with their cameras (that’s them in my photo from yesterday’s blog) and they captured our meeting on film. My feelings were authentic and if they use that tape, there will be no mistake it was real. At least for me.
The afternoon gathering was uncomfortable. As mentioned, HBO was there and I guess I didn’t realize ahead of time that they would be filming us. I thought they were there to do more background, but I’m an idiot. They were there to tape what we were talking about. Over the last year, this has been our safe space. We say all kinds of things that reflect the individual differences and the commonalities among us. You know when I talk about these gatherings, I do it broadly and make every effort to keep private information private. Every survivor is on their own journey and they deserve to share as they see fit. At least that’s been my commitment when writing. The worst part of the HBO project is that it will be subjective: meaning it’s entertainment. It’s not news and just like the McNamara book, it’s all about an outsider’s interpretation. So I remain dubious. I was taped and recorded. But I wasn’t at ease.
I met a new survivor couple and they were so warm. Bob and Gay joined us for the first time yesterday (they did not go to court). They were together during the attack and they are still together today – I’m not 100% positive but I think they are the only surviving “couple” to stay together. That alone was pretty incredible. But then I learned Bob is a lawyer. I locked in: for the first time, I could talk to a survivor who might have had the same thoughts my dad did during the attack. It was a powerful connection. I talked to Bob for a long time. I found it soothing. New Bob (my dad’s nickname was Bob, just to add to the kismet factor) is kind, thoughtful in his answers, and freaking in love with his wife, Gay. I won’t turn this into a therapy session, but he got in my head in many good ways.
The hearing yesterday was weird. Beyond weird. I wrote about how different it was last night and the number one thing we all talked about yesterday afternoon was that we felt shoved aside and irrelevant yesterday. Everything that happened in court was both a surprise and confounding. We spent a lot of time speculating yesterday about was really going on. But at that point, we didn’t have all the information.
As usual, mom was great. She listened, asked questions and helped me think more about what I’d experienced. But it wasn’t until I started writing last night, that I started to understand the big picture.
After lying in bed arguing in my damn head, it’s time to talk.
Yesterday was planned, staged and executed as a precursor to last night’s fundraiser and today’s press conference aimed at fighting the Governor of California and furthering the political careers of the District Attorneys. I’m not naïve. I knew this was coming. But I am incredibly angry that I was used yesterday, without my consent, in a political game that has nothing to do with us: the survivors. Let’s break it down.
Yesterday’s hearing wasn’t a hearing. It was a stunt.
We were unwitting victims of a political move and I did not consent. If we just take this one point and consider it: in and of itself, it’s shameful. I don’t care whose side you’re on or what your position is on the death penalty. Those things are not relevant to what happened here. The District Attorneys, mine included from Ventura, put together a “hearing” so they would have a platform for fundraising.
It started with our arrival. We were last into the courtroom. We’ve always been first. Sure lawyers might be there, but before they were incredibly respectful. Yesterday, they were front and center, so they’d be seen on camera, and amazingly, the judge agreed to let a lot of extra cameras in the room. We came in last to an unfamiliar and overwhelming scene of media and no seats set aside for us. We had to fumble and fit where there were seats left scattered about the tiny gallery. And if you don’t believe this was incredibly choreographed, at one point a camera man asked the couple I was sitting next to if they’d move because he couldn’t see them in his shot! They declined.
There were two motions ruled on – I remember the other one now – one was about pretrial publicity (dammit, I hate that now I’m thinking DeAngelo’s attorney might have a point), which the judge denied and the other was a very mysterious order of protection. We don’t know who needs to be protected but I found that intriguing. Then, in a weird move, the judge asked if there was an announcement and that’s when each DA stood and got their moment in the sun as they said they would seek the death penalty.
One by one.
Then the hearing was dismissed. The media was excused, and my Ventura-based legal team shook my hand and reassured me they were working hard.
We left the courtroom and without our knowledge, walked into a political media circus.
I was almost last out because I was talking with my Ventura folks. As I walked through the door, I saw an older man, in a suit, with a file folder, talking with the press. I was surprised it was such a big crowd but then I deduced it must be Mr. Harrington and he had never been to court before and I thought that was why the crush was on.
After I figured out it was him, I sat down with the others on the bench you can see behind him. Those are the survivors, sitting there, trying to figure out what was going on. I have no idea why they were sitting there but someone mentioned they were asked to when they came out. They became unwitting props in a production that didn’t bother to ask us if we wanted to participate. But again, we didn’t know any of this at the time.
When Mr. Harrington finally came outside, that’s when I introduced myself. I had left to talk with other media folks, so I don’t really know how long things went on inside and what was being discussed. I saw him, connected and then someone said to me, we’d like to have to join us at our big press conference tomorrow. A man with dark hair was pushing it and suggesting I come. He had no details other than today at 10am. I now know it’s the Death Penalty Moratorium Press Conference that will happen today at 10am in Sacramento. Again, this isn’t about the death penalty. It’s about politics and positioning District Attorneys – who are elected and therefore are politicians – as being tough on crime. Alas, I find it funny that the death penalty is where they want to hang their hats.
Let’s face it: the death penalty is the last phase in a conviction. It’s rare, expensive and only affects a handful of cases. Here’s some more factual information so you can see what crimes fall under the provision (this site appears to be neutral reporting of data). It’s always been weird to me that DAs want to hang their hat on the white elephant rather than the day to day stuff. But that’s me. I digress.
Why does my stomach ache and my head hurt.
As I drove home, and clearly mentioned on Twitter and on my blog last night, I felt sick. How was it that none of the survivors knew what was going down yesterday but one? How did the rich white man from Orange County, Mr. Harrington, who has never talked with us, just take over the narrative? How did the women and men, who’ve been coming to court for a year, sharing their stories, finding their courage, how did we become victim props for the DAs’ agenda?
Well, it turns out, yesterday in court was just part one of an integrated fundraising campaign being run by Crime Victims United. Just take a moment and delight in the cleverness of the name. United. As in, not you Golden State Killer guys, but us guys from places like Orange County. The GUYS united around a political platform that supports Devin Nunes and Dana Rohrabacher. And again, I will set this aside because I’m capable of living in a world with different opinions.
My District Attorney from Ventura was one of the speakers last night. They were specifically using the Golden State Killer case to raise money. I would have appreciated Mr. Totten telling me yesterday what was really happening and allowing me to then decide how I might want to participate – or not. Either way, this wasn’t about the victims. If it was, they would have been honest. They told none of us. Mr. Harrington was the only person (man) read in and they steamrolled the rest of us in pursuit of their personal agenda (as opposed to the collective agenda we survivors thought we were using).
Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture for a minute.
Our Ventura crime is on track. Clean, clear and DNA with a clean chain of custody. But many of the crimes DeAngelo committed are not being charged. This has been devastating for many of the survivors. Half of the time, we are merely supporting one another through the grief of not being part of the case while vicariously living through the charges that will stick. Remember Bob, the husband that was new yesterday? Their case can’t be made. There are others in the same boat – meaning, the police and DAs will not even talk with them anymore. They aren’t as relevant. It’s the cruel reality of American jurisprudence. But feelings don’t care about reality and people are human. The pain is real.
My point is, several victims have already had to eat a shit sandwich since DeAngelo’s been jailed. It’s beyond uncool to use any of us in this way. Furthermore, why did they hide their agenda from us? That’s the real question. I stood in front of Gary Totten and he said nothing. And they’d already pulled the trigger. They had their moment in court and Harrington was outside dropping the bomb. Did they think none of us would support their position? I know some of us who would have. But why ask a woman when there’s a rich, white man available? I bet some of you want to fight me on this but go back and read this again. He’s never, ever been to court. He hasn’t reached out to us. He showed up with his DA and left; making no real contact with any of us. If I hadn’t reached out to him, he wouldn’t have missed it.
I have always held Mr. Harrington in high regard. I worked in Northern California on Prop 69, which was funded by his family. The law passed requiring DNA from all convicted felons. It is a good law and it’s helping solve crimes. We share a horrible crime. I ignorantly thought we had a connection.
As for today’s press conference, it’s not about the Golden State Killer.
It’s about Gavin Newsom and politics and points of view and using a popular brand, GSK, to elevate their message. If you look at the list of participants, only Harrington is there as a GSK representative. I again ask why they chose him – and didn’t speak with anyone else that I know of – to participate in today’s press conference. In the context of #MeToo, white privilege and women being marginalized all over the place, politics once again defaulted to rich white men to control the narrative.
I’m going to talk more about this as it evolves. I want this group to pay for my week up here. My hotel, my food, gas. I was manipulated and played. Emotionally and financially. I came to what I thought was a hearing and instead it was political theater. I would have liked to know that ahead of time.
We are not fools. We are trusting. We’ve been honest and respectful and authentic. Frankly, my authenticity is all I have. I thought long and hard about what I’ve written here, but it’s too important to let slip through the cracks. I’m super interested in your opinion on how this is going down.
I have this fantasy of buying one of those sheds from Home Depot and having a friend sheet rock the thing, add some electricity and then make it the most girly place possible (that’s my taste, romantic, soft, flowery). There’d be a super big comfy chair, a laptop desk and it would smell like spring rain. And nobody will be able to find me. (The cover photo is where Roald Dahl wrote.)
Shortly after DeAngelo was arrested, a woman reached out to me who was sure he was her rapist. During the attack, her took her driver’s license. Her fear of him returning was so great, she left the state and lived quietly nearly 3,000 miles away – always looking over her shoulder, always wary of his return. She described herself as an introvert who rarely shared her experience with anyone.
This week, she sent me an email. The joy in her writing was evident. She was back in Orange County, she’d met with investigators there. She was even going to meet Orange County D.A. Investigator, Erika Hutchcraft (I’m jealous). I haven’t heard from her since, but what she said today made me cry! Because it was so beautiful. She thanked me and said,
“you listened and heard me, you stuck with me…”
I mean nothing, nothing could have gotten my attention more than these beautiful words.
The future of America sits on a precipice. The end goal is to divide us.
My goodness, I’m the last one to get all rose colored glasses and saccharine about things, but overall I’m an optimist. I love what John Legend said that about himself last night. If you watch the clip, he explains, “…I see a lot of opportunity for change [on the state and local level] even though I’m often frustrated by what’s happening nationally.” I have to say, this touched me. It stayed with me last night and today.
I have realized I have no control about what happens with the Supreme Court.
I was triggered, as were so many, by the rage demonstrated last week in the highest levels of our government. I truly had no opinion of Kavanaugh prior to his testimony – other than my political leanings, but I’m a grown-up, I know we are all different. Then he came to testify last Thursday. As he yelled and raged and obfuscated and lied (“it’s like quarters” – we aren’t idiots dude), my reaction to him came from the gut.
Clearly I am not alone.
I understand it’s hard for some guys to get this, but having a man rage at you is terrifying. God forbid it connects with any body memories, because that fight or flight instinct kicks in super fast. Heartbeat goes up, nerve endings start to twitch; I hear a roar in my head that is accompanied by this weird pressure. It’s kind of like having an earache and a headache and kind of not. The reaction is freaking out of our control and anyone with PTSD, male or female, understands. Anyone with trauma, understands.
But that’s not what this blog is about.
This blog is about that beautiful sentence sent to me today. The gift I gave was unbelievable easy.
No matter what happens, we are still all neighbors*. Sure the guy down the street is an ass. But if his house burns down, I’m going to pitch in. Yes, the woman in the store seems rather racist, but if her kid runs toward the street, I’m going to grab for the kid. I’m convinced we can manage a lot of this crap locally. Individually. With our own actions.
And I want to share one example of what I mean.
When Black Lives Matter started, I took a look at my own behavior. Because I’m a compulsive talker in stores (again, this is why Katie won’t shop with me), I realized I had a pattern of who I would chat with: mostly white people. I didn’t know I was doing this, but once I was self-aware, I realized it was true.
That Christmas, I started talking to people not like me.
For example, someone of a different race, age, ethnic background; basically not a Rubenesque (see what I did there), short, white, mom who thinks she’s still cool. I started this two years ago and I’m still on board. Let me tell you what, it’s been awesome! My M.O. is to try and get people to smile or laugh and I’m proud to say, diversity pays! I am still stunned by how often I can get someone to smile or chat – even when they are incredibly different from me.
The point is don’t let them divide us. Reach out, listen, and hang in there. Observe your own patterns. See if there are adjustments you can make. I’d love to hear your stories. Anything positive. Now’s the time.
*I’m going to add a caveat because I’m not saying go adopt a white supremacist. I trust you understand my intent.
Yesterday Sacramento was able to announce the arrest of another monster. Terrorist. Piece of human excrement. The NorCal Rapist was identified via DNA and he’s in custody. Not to completely freak you out, but he worked at UC Berkeley – surrounded by women who clearly had no idea there was a predator in their midst.
The irony in that statement that has turned me into a complete mess this week.
The reality is, we know there are predators in our midst. We know they are our fathers, our husbands, our co-workers, our religious counselors and our government leaders. It’s all good to talk about the monsters who reveal in their reputation as monsters: our President has done an effective job of shining the light on MS-13, a horrible gang that uses rape and murder to terrorize mostly immigrants. But they are the exception – like frankly our brutal killer DeAngelo.
More often, women are hurt by the men they trust.
On August 23, when the charges were read against DeAngelo, new to the catalog were 13 counts of kidnapping. While it made for a dramatic read in court, and it’s tremendously satisfying that the DAs were able to add those important charges, it ended-up sending shock waves through the ranks of the victims.
And here’s why. Because most of the survivors in Sacramento are rape survivors, they had come to terms with two things: the statute of limitations expired on the rapes and their voices would only be heard via a Victim Impact Report that is either oral or written and isn’t subject to cross-examination. The minute the kidnapping charges were added, so was the requirement that these 13 women testify. For some, this isn’t something they want to do. Testifying means being cross examined and that’s is where victims are typically re-victimized in the legal process.
Ironically, it’s likely I won’t be called to testify because I don’t have anything particularly material to share on this case. I wasn’t at the house, I don’t know the suspect. I could be called to talk about my dad, but I think the defense could possibly do more with me than the prosecution. And even at that, it would be irrelevant because DNA puts him raping Charlene. He’s guilty and I don’t care about him. But I do care about re-victimizing those already hurt decades ago.
I had no idea how much DeAngelo’s arrest would change me. I have not been the same since that day. Parts of me I’ve push down or away have bubbled up nearly driving me crazy. I wrestled with the paradox I was living in as I met and supported my fellow survivors in Sacramento. As I celebrated their courage to face DeAngelo in court, I was struggling with what had been happening to me for the last year of my life. I just spent the last year being abused by my boss. I had to keep quiet or he might not give me by expense report reimbursement (it still came through short and it took four months to get the check. I can’t talk about the company because they only way I’d get severance and COBRA was signing a confidentiality agreement. I’d already met with an attorney and the only way he could have gotten rid of me without a lawsuit was to lay me off. So he did – while I was out on medical leave to catch my breath over the arrest. I remember crying and telling my mom I felt like a hypocrite because I wasn’t telling my story while I was encouraging others to be strong and share.
And there’s more. I need to talk about my dad. You’ve all asked me to – but I can’t yet. My dad could be Brett Kavanaugh. Truly. He would fit all the descriptions people have of the judge. And I don’t think my dad ever sexually attacked a woman. But he was abusive to the women in his family. That was our secret. Not sexually. Emotionally and physically. And I will talk about it. But I need a little more time.
I am like most women; I struggle with not wanting to impugn his reputation.
He really did amazing things for our community and my brothers must have learned some goodness from him because they are both married to amazing women. I’m proud of both my brothers for having healthy, balanced marriages – the kind I didn’t believe were possible as I grew up (hey you with the raised eyebrow thinking, hey, maybe that’s why Jen isn’t married; here’s a cookie, you’re a winner).
Because my dad was so tough on me, I grew up tough. I think he gets credit for that not because of his behavior but because of DNA. I am a lot like him. I don’t back down and I fight for justice. I can be incredibly annoying because I am so driven. Then imagine being trapped by circumstances that prevent me from fighting that fight. That’s the gut-punch of being abused. You’ve lived through the trauma but to get justice, one goes through a process that crushes the soul and strips us of our dignity and defies moral justice.
The state tries criminals on behalf of the people, not the victims.
I think this is correct but in the pursuit of “fairness”, it’s actually tilted to benefit the law, not the humans. In fact, humanity is intentionally stripped from the legal process. If you don’t believe me, do a quick rhetorical analysis. Rhetoric was my major: it’s the understanding of how words are used to influence. I called it a degree in bullshit and people would agree and I’d say, “See, I just did it. It works!” In legalese, words that talk about feelings are subjective. Subjectivity is seen as bias and lawyers work to eschew bias and seek facts. Sadly, the fact that someone had to move 3,000 miles away to get away from their perpetrator because they are so scared, is fact but is meaningless without the emotion. One DeAngelo rape victim did just that. Moved away immediately, across the country. Apparently, Dr. Blasey-Ford did the same thing.
There are still too many men involved in investigating these crimes.
We are so blessed to have a hero in our midst with Carol Daly. She says one of the ways she approached abuse victims was to encourage them to tell their story. Seriously. Prior to her involvement, that’s not how things went down – it’s the difference of being transactional (iterative questioning back and forth) and being contextual (what happened, how did you feel, doesn’t have to be from beginning to end because many women think more comprehensively). Without more women – many of whom have experienced abuse – we won’t be able to conquer the bullying and the bias that we saw this week. Watching 80+ year-old men delivering Dr. Blasey ultimatums was beyond tone deaf and inappropriate; it was absolutely revictimizing the victim. If you still don’t understand what she’s facing, watch this. I nearly vomited on Monday night when I watched. That’s when I knew I was also facing my own demons.
Good people do bad things.
This is probably the most important part of what’s happening in America right now (and what causes me the most consternation). My former boss actively posed as a moral, wholesome man from Utah (that’s code – please read into that). When I tried to pursue things internally, I was told I was guilty of reverse discrimination and I was making the men uncomfortable. (That sound you hear is me screaming – yes, I can scream that loud.) Our NorCal Rapist worked at UC Berkeley as a safety specialist (oh irony, you are a minx). And of course, Wee Willie Winky DeAngelo, was eating at Charlie’s Café and bopping around Citrus Heights and was a former police officer. Nuff said.
Since I’ve hit 50, I’ve thought a lot about how we function as humans. What I come away with after this tumultuous week that’s demonstrated just how often we hurt each other, I still have no real explanation. #sad#bebetter#KindnessMatters#WhyIDidntReport
I think a lot about the nature of humanity. There are so many things we have to figure out as humans: how to have agency, how to manage relationships, how to manage our health, how to support the people we love (and those we don’t even know) – we shouldn’t have to worry about other humans hurting us.
Based on where we are as a civilization, we should be doing better. Civilization actually means we are civil. But we just aren’t there yet.
We can be better. We can stop hurting one another. And it starts with closing your lips, opening your ears, being patient and showing kindness. A small shift that could create tremendous change. I wish that for all of us.
[Folks that follow me on Twitter know it’s been a tough week for me based on my tweets and you’ve been tremendously supportive. Thank you. It’s a great place to talk and meet other survivors. The true-crime community is amazing and we invite you to join us. Awhile ago I wrote a Twitter primer – if you’re new to the platform, it might help!]
My new friends in the media warned me about this. They said to be ready for the ups and downs. There would be quiet periods and then the noise would start again as decisions are made and new evidence presented. I’m glad they prepared me. I woke up this morning pretty hot because I’m really frustrated by some information that’s been leaked. It’s not the leak – I don’t think what’s been shared is at all harmful to the case and I hope our “informant” will manage information accordingly. Let’s dive in.
Rumor is, nothing was found at DeAngelo’s house (no evidence that is).
I had not been on Reddit before last night. Then, a friend pointed me to a post that has everyone talking this morning. I don’t want to upset Reddit, so here’s just a small image designed to have you click in and read the whole thing (so Reddit gets the traffic it deserves). The upshot of the post is that nothing was found at DeAngelo’s house that ties him to any of the crimes (other than his DNA). They carried out more crap and dug holes in the back yard and stared oddly at the photos of his mother he had over his bed, but no damn evidence. How is that possible? How did he not make a mistake?
So I think it’s time for a brief community Grrr Fest (grrrr) and then it’s time to get back to putting our thinking caps on and figuring out where the hell he’s hidden all the stuff. There’s no way this control fiend threw it all away. No way. It’s out there and we need to find it. Collective “we” – I’m sure law enforcement is all over this. And yes, I know we have him on DNA. That’s awesome. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. But there are other reasons the souvenirs are so damned important.
They may be the only proof we have that he attacked women and men who no longer or never had DNA samples to rely on.
I have four women who’ve reached out to me. Billy Jensen said he has women that have reached out to him. I hope they have all contacted law enforcement. We need to find these souvenirs to help these women know if he was their attacker. There’s also great value – healing value – in getting these things returned to the survivors.
I’ve talked about it before and I have heard from people how much seeing their driver’s license again or that earring they never thought about then, but now desire more than anything. It’s so weird, but a lot of life comes down to these little things: the sock your child always chewed on, the smell of cologne your dad used to wear (one of my favorite photos from the media swarm on April 25th), or that class ring that was stolen in a simple house break-in. There are hundreds, if not thousands of folks participating in this investigation online. It’s time to put our thinking caps on and find the evidence.
Today started with a call from KCRA about the Simi Valley case.
For those of you playing the home edition, law enforcement is scrambling all over the state of California (and beyond) to try and confirm or rule out DeAngelo for any crimes that have a close modus operandi (MO). In Simi Valley this week, they ruled DeAngelo out of a case that already jailed a man for nearly 40 years, only to be exonerated. Today it’s a crime they are still investigating. I feel so bad for the families who don’t have answers. Of course, until April, I was part of one of those families and we do have a way of moving on. But still, it’s hard to get your hopes up only to have them dashed once again. And no matter what, we are still left with wondering why.
In fact, despite the fact I’m a grown-ass woman, I still wonder about daily, how humans can be so cruel to other humans. Cruelty is not part of who I am and it makes it hard for me to understand how people want to hurt one another. But I know it happens. It doesn’t mean I have to tolerate it or like it. Maybe one of the best things about my recent adoption by the true crime folks out there, is as a group, your are a bad ass people! I have never experienced such kindness. We might be a hot mess of different people, but we share a commitment to helping those who have been harmed. Damn.
Victim Assistance included in the California budget going to vote today!
I didn’t realize there was a fund in California for victims of crime. This is actually an amazing resource. From the site:
“In 1965, California created the nation’s first victim compensation program, which was administered by the Department of Social Welfare. Responsibility for this program was transferred to the Board of Control in 1967.
The California Victim Compensation Board is a state program dedicated to providing reimbursement for many crime-related expenses to eligible victims who suffer physical injury or the threat of physical injury as a direct result of a violent crime. CalVCB funding comes from restitution paid by criminal offenders through fines, orders, penalty assessments and federal funds.”
Apparently 25 of us have applied for this relief. You do NOT have to be a victim of DeAngelo to qualify. This is for anyone who has survived a violent crime in California – but alas, there is a three year statute of limitations. The rider they are adding to the California budget extends the statute.
“…open up a new opportunity for victims of the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer to file claims with the California Victim Compensation Board. Under current law, the statute of limitations for victims of the crimes in the 1970s and ’80s to file claims expired long ago. This proposal would give them until the end of 2019, and offer the right to file a claim to both victims and derivative victims suffering from emotional harm or financial loss — including from preparing to testify”
I wish it was across the board. These damn statutes keep working against the victims. There’s so much that happens at the time of a violent crime. It leaves you awash in people, advice, rules and sadness. To figure out how to help yourself with a service that’s unfamiliar, is a pretty high bar of expectation. If I ever get a chance to talk to the governor, I’m going to make him aware of this. I realize this could overburden the system, but I think people are fair and just and will only reach out for what they need.