My Dad “In the Rear View Mirror” 

Donald Gore

Donald Gore, my father

Another milestone is occurring this week; the 34th anniversary of my father Donald Gore’s murder. There’s no easy way to say it. In searching my mind for what to write, what might inspire others to carry on with their journey, I struggle with each passing year.  Some of the bad memories have faded away to oblivion, other images have remained in infamy.

In this struggle, I realized that if I cannot say something new or different, it’s not really about my dad anymore, it’s about the mission of serving others in his memory. The circumstances of the crime and the myriad of errors that occurred remain the same. However, there are always new challenges and new people to assist.

(My previous blog relates the circumstances of my father’s murder if readers are unfamiliar: History can only be written by the survivors….)

Actually, I have two milestones here; April 17, 1981, my father’s “death anniversary”  is the first milestone.  However, a much more celebratory, yet bittersweet, anniversary is the two-year anniversary of the parole hearing for the perpetrator that occurred on April 24, 2013. A day to remember for me and my family was captured well by Dr. Laurie Roth on her national radio show the same evening; the good, the bad, the ugly all rolled into one!  If you’re in a similar circumstance I hope listening will provide you with helpful information.

A Victory for Victims of Crime

Of great significance was the fact that our family was able to fend off a bid for freedom for my father’s murderer for another five years AND changed State of Connecticut Policy in terms of upholding a victim’s right to anonymity.  Using our right to deliver a victim impact statement was of utmost importance in this hearing and helped generate the outcome.

Dealing with a dangerous criminal face to face, and prohibiting access to a family via the internet, is of utmost importance and we are proud to be a part of positive change for other victims of crime.  Victim Anonymity PRESS RELEASE 8 12 13

The entire experience was disturbing after all these years, and yet it was our shining moment in the best of ways. For her assistance to my family, thank you to Attorney- Advocate Michelle S. Cruz for the miracles that took place that day due in large part to her skills!

Who was My Father?

Donald Gore racing his motorcycle

Donald Gore racing his motorcycle

Donald W. Gore was man like any other. He was not perfect, but did the best he could and always provided for his family with a fierce work ethic. His claim to fame involved motorcycle championships many years running.  He was on the verge of a new entrepreneurial opportunity when he was struck down forever at age 47.  Today, all family members carry on each in their own ways. I say proudly, I not only survive, but thrive!  For all of the professional relationships and friendships I have made over these many years, I am forever grateful.

So, if there is one lesson to be learned from murder, it is that you can carry on and even thrive with time!

We will have to “prepare with our armor and our raw emotions” for the next parole hearing in 2018, however, there is so much work to do for others in the meantime! My Dad would like that!

My Dad “In the Rear View Mirror”

The Irresistible Force Meets the Hired Killer of the “Manson Family”  

 A Victory for Victim Impact

Doris Tate delivers victim impact statement at the parole hearing of Tex Watson

Doris Tate delivers victim impact statement at the parole hearing of Tex Watson

Imagine my surprise when perusing YouTube to suddenly come upon a video that “speaks a million words” in just over four minutes!

Doris Tate was a heroine and the mother of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, who was brutally murdered by “Tex” (Charles Denton) Watson.  Tex also killed four others during a spree murderous rampage over two days. Tex and others carried out the killings orchestrated by Charles Manson.  The scene was Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles, California, August 1969. Watson was found guilty of murder in 1971. However, the death penalty was overturned in California in 1972 for four years and his sentence was commuted to life in prison.

All baby boomers recall the horror of this crime. The heinous acts included stabbing Sharon 16 times as she was in her 8th month of pregnancy; scrawling the word “PIG” on the door of the Polanski-Tate home and killing three of Tate’s houseguests. Co-conspirators Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel murdered coffee heiress Abigail Folger and neighbors Rosemary and Leno La Bianca.  Leno LaBianca suffered seven stab wounds and had the word “War” carved in his abdomen.  Prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi called Atkins “A heartless bloodthirsty robot” who did Manson’s bidding.  Susan Atkins admitted killing Sharon Tate.

According to internet sources, all surviving participants are now advanced in age and have accepted responsibility. (Susan Atkins died in 2009). Tex converted to Christianity, became an ordained minister,  married while in prison and had three children in the 1980’s. Watson was denied parole at least 14 times over the years.

“I Feel Sorry for this Man as he Chose this Way of Life.”

Doris Tate, mother of slain Sharon Tate

Doris Tate, mother of slain Sharon Tate

Was it a comfort to Doris Tate that Tex had “accepted responsibility” in his own way? I doubt it. Doris had the opportunity to “go head to head” with Tex in 1982. This was the first ever true victim impact statement delivered by a female.   I am not sure that I would have had the strength or courage to sit three feet away from “my murderer” across the table, as she did!

Doris became the champion of victim’s rights in the midst of the most horrific crime of that era.  She was adamant that serial killers could never be trusted, rehabilitated or released from prison. The followers of Charles Manson were little more than hollow waifs duped into thinking that Manson’s propaganda and drug induced brainwashing and hate “served a higher purpose.”

In reality, it caused irreparable harm to many. It introduced the “love and peace generation” to mass murder and forever tainted our hearts!

The First Victim Impact Statement by Doris Tate: (4 min,26 secs)

Watch and listen at least twice …. Just amazing! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr-MUJsROKQ 

 “When Do I (As the Mother of Sharon Tate) Come Up for Parole?

Indeed! When your daughter is 8 month pregnant and is stabbed 16 times, you are forever a prisoner of the horrible details. You miss out on life milestones that will never be.  You never get relief. You don’t get your loved one back and you never come up for parole!

I won’t even get into the bizarre effort of Susan La Barge, the daughter of Rosemary and Leno La Bianco  who pleaded for the release of Charles Tex Watson in 1990. Susan’s mother was stabbed 42 times! I won’t even get into it! I won’t tell you what Doris said! Talk about crazy!

Sadly, Doris Tate passed away on July 10, 1992 at age 68.  Her memory and accomplishments will live on in history and in the hearts and minds of crime victims everywhere.   May you finally rest in peace Sharon and your grandchild.

This brings me to the point that, in 2015, a finely crafted, personal victim impact statement can create a powerful impact, as Doris’s did to pave the way for others. Don’t leave such an important event to chance.  Contact me with advanced notice for optimal results!  And NEVER forget about Doris Tate!

You can find details on Victim Impact Statement Assistance at this link:

http://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/

Crime Victimization & Victim Impact: Nuts & Bolts and Some “Intangibles”

crime-268896_640

Just keeping afloat in 2015, takes incredible fortitude and courage. Seemingly at every turn, we see violence, sadness, corruption, natural disaster, loss of morality, indifference and a general “dumbing down” of standards that used to be impenetrable. When we have such forces as our backdrop for life, our yardstick, how do we possibly deal with our personal devastation in the aftermath of crime? How do we personally “keep afloat” and find a sense of hope? It is the hardest challenge we will ever face!

Who Does a Better Job?

Although we have made great strides with the infrastructure of victim advocacy over the years, the humanity, the compassion and support and the “going the extra mile” often lags behind when it comes to governmental services perpetually faced with financial cuts. In my opinion, it is the grass root non-profit organizations who have figured out how to do more with less and made friends with community partners, and survivors of crime themselves who appear to be better equipped to provide the services most needed.

Nuts & Bolts of Victim Impact Statement:

During the sentencing phase of a trial or board of pardons and parole hearing, a crime victim is metaphorically standing at the crossroads of their “forever after existence.” That person hopefully has given much thought and has decided what is truly important to convey to the court or BPP officials individually or collectively with the assistance of a paid advocate or fellow survivor.  As the surviving victim, you should ask yourself before you even attempt to compose a statement, what should be my primary focus? What do I really want?  A review of possible options is helpful – non-hierarchical)

  • The emotional impact and devastation of my loss;
  • Financial  restitution;
  • Requesting a verbal or written apology from the offender;
  • Having the opportunity to add new  information to the formal record with the potential of altering the length and provisions of sentencing;
  • Using this forum for emotional release;
  • Describing the future legacy of your murdered loved one;
  • Educating judicial officials regarding your unique needs and nuances of the process which were previously overlooked but very important to you;
  • Expressing forgiveness to “a higher power” as a way of self-healing;

Other Considerations:

  • In the State of Connecticut when delivering your victim impact statement, you are not limited regarding the length of time, nor is the content edited in any way, according to our Board of Pardons and Parole website and personal experience.
  • In the State of South Carolina, a videotaped statement cannot exceed five minutes in the case of one victim, ten minutes for multiple victims.
  • (Be sure to check with your state as rules vary from state to state.)
  • Physical Environment – During a court sentencing, you will be facing the judge with the defendant behind you or to the right or left of you as you make your presentation.  Your statement is part of the official court record, or hearing.
  • Restitution and Compensation (From the National Center for Victims of Crime) Increasing the likelihood that restitution will be ordered:  Victims can do two things to increase the likelihood that restitution will be ordered in their case: gather information about their financial loss, and request that restitution be ordered.  To increase the chances that restitution will be ordered, victims should make sure their victim impact statement includes a summary of the out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the crime
  • The difference between restitution and compensation: While restitution is court-ordered payment from a convicted offender, crime victim compensation is a state government program that pays many of the out-of-pocket expenses of victims of violent crime even when there is no arrest or prosecution. Ordinarily, to be eligible for compensation the victim is required to report the offense within a certain amount of time, cooperate in the investigation and prosecution, and file an application within a set time. The expenses covered by compensation vary and are usually set by state law. All compensation programs cover medical expenses, most cover counseling, and very few cover any property loss.
  • In comparison, restitution can only be ordered in cases where someone has been convicted. However, restitution can be ordered in almost any case (although courts may be required to order it only for certain offenses), and can be ordered for a wider variety of losses, including property loss. A victim cannot collect both compensation and restitution for the same losses.
  • Technology- Videoconferencing is a concept that has existed since 1996. The clear leader in this area appears to be the State of Michigan. They began in 2004 with the Department of Corrections bringing the total of videoconferencing sites to 64, including five “telemed” sites. Imagine never having to leave prison grounds for prisoner –immigration hearings, dietician and mental health appointments! This is an up and coming industry of vast proportions.  MDs  can even use electronic stethoscopes to listen to heart and lungs and view x-rays instantly! Viola! This is all in the name of reducing costs and increasing efficiency!
  • Is there a line in the sand that needs to be drawn to say that victims of crime also need these innovative heath care services, particularly the elderly after having suffered their tremendous losses? Indeed!
  • “Intangibles”- meaning loss of productivity, medical care, mental health, use of public safety services, property loss, “tangible losses”, “quality of life” loss .  The problem is, the data available is so old – from the National Institute of Justice – January 1996, and can only be used as a general reference. Basically, 19 years ago…
  • Estimates of monetary values, including lost wages were in the range of $500,000 to $7 million;

What is Pain and Suffering and Quality of life really worth?

  • In 1996, violent crime was 3% of all medical spending and 14% of injury related spending and 10-20% of mental health expenditures in the U.S.
  • At that time, losses per incident of criminal victimization (including attempts) looked like this for fatal crimes including rape and murder-
  • Loss of productivity- $1,000,000;
  • Medical Care /Ambulance- $16,300;
  • Social-Victim Services- 0
  • Mental Health – $4,800;
  • Police & Fire Services – $1,300;
  • Property Loss/Damage – $120.00
  • Murder “Tangible Losses (Subtotal) “$1,030.000
  • “Intangible Quality of Life Losses” $1,910.00;
  • Total = $2,940.000

(Reference for above from: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/victcost.pdf)

Victim Impact Statement Assistance Service

VIGraphic.001One can assume that for today’s standards, the current cost of living and the escalation of spree and mass murder, these figures may be triple or more per incident. (In my humble opinion)

I do not put much faith in numbers, for they can always be manipulated to serve ones’ point of view, human error is rampant and they do not tell the whole story. I believe that an investment in people and their true life stories illuminate our understanding and pave the way for change far better than what a calculator reveals.

In some cases, the surviving victims may be too emotionally distraught, or may not have the ability to correctly express their feelings. A professional who has experience as a victim of crime, as well as assisting others through trials, can help you put your thoughts into a professionally written statement, and coach you on your delivery in court.

If you are anticipating the task of victim impact statement writing with trepidation, perhaps I can assist.

 

Crime Victimization & Victim Impact: Nuts & Bolts and Some “Intangibles”

Looks Can be Deceiving: Victim Advocacy, A Life’s Mission, but Never Fully Compensated

court room, victim advocates

Crime Victim Advocates are a strange breed… Typically, it is not a chosen profession.  Rather, they come from the ranks of the survivors of crime. It is a hard row to hoe, seeing the dark side of life, the violence and the pain in the aftermath.

Violent crime sneaks up on “its prey” and shatters life as we know it. We are told in an academic manner that we must traverse through the stages of grief outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross…one step forward, then three steps back, never on an even keel.  We get stuck along the way ultimately to come out the other side a different person who can help others via their own life transformation.

Some survivors experiencing such a transformation, may be able to put it behind them “in a corner of their mind,” proceeding on a new path. There are those advocates who spring into action in very non-traditional ways.  They feel compelled to spread their message however they can.

Crime victim advocates may be able to find paid work within state or federal government arenas or non-profit organizations as well as some prosecutor’s offices and some police departments. However, frequently such positions are few and far between. Many of these positions are often the most low paying too!

Taken from my Blog The Murder Business… What’s Wrong With this Picture?

Crime Victim Advocates – (Court Based or Non- Profit)

$45, 0000 annually which is 38% lower than the average of all job postings!

Private Investigators (As of May 2009) Average Hourly wage is $22.66; Average annual wage = $47,130; Investigators with one year of experience = $25,602 annually; Investigators with 20+ years of experience. Range = $37,443 to $70,080 annually;

Private Investigators working in the Management, Scientific and Consulting Industries the most well compensated: Average = $90,030 annually;
Private Investigators in the Natural Gas Distribution Industry earn $83,080 annually; Private Investigators in the Computer System Design Industry earn $79,380 annually; Private Investigators in the Telecommunications Industry earn $74,800 annually; The highest paid private investigator employed by a state is Virginia at $$68,420 annually;
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

Police Detectives earn a range of $34,402 to $94,171 annually;

Homicide Detectives earn a median salary of $62,110 nationally; In a 2010 Survey of 435 detectives a salary range of $44,613 to $81,796 was reported; Detectives in the Federal System earn an average of $75,390 annually; Detectives in State Government earn an average of $54,940 annually; Detectives in Local Government earn an average of $61,230 annually;

Top Five Highest Paid Cities – Detective Salaries as of an August 2010 Survey) (Includes Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and St. Louis)

Salary Range on Average was $68,200 to 107,304 annually;

Domestic Violence /Intimate Partner Homicide- Director of Non-Profit:

  • Executive Director positions earn an average of $48,155 annually;
  • Program Manager Non– Profit position earns an average of $42,907annually;
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) earns an average of $39,996 annually;
  • Masters of Social Work (MSW) earns an average of $33,384 annually;

Left to their own devices, Advocates work at their passion on a part-time basis, nights and weekends, or they may even give up their paying jobs to pursue their mission IF there is another source of income in the household.  However, most people do not have such an option, especially in these dire economic times.

A majority of Advocates cannot afford the exorbitant costs of life coaches or most publicity and marketing companies. Moreover, many organizations are cutting paid speakers out of their budgets no matter how dynamic or compelling the speaker or message may be.

The realities of being an Advocate frequently include self-promotions, locating bookings for presentations, writing articles and books, (hoping to procure the services of a publisher “who will bite” and share your vision in order to disseminate your vital message and perhaps yield some income).

Case in Point:

Susan Murphy-Milano

Susan Murphy-Milano

Susan Murphy-Milano, a beloved former colleague and intimate partner violence expert, always presented herself –her countenance, style of dress, nails accessories etc. like she “had a million bucks.” In order to be professional, you must look the part, after all. However, reality tells a far different story.

Susan Murphy Milano is in a state of high indignation–a condition she experiences with exasperating frequency. Milano is an advocate for battered women. She’s not a lawyer or a social worker but sort of a guardian angel: she listens to their stories, tells them what their legal options are, hooks them up with shelters and counseling services, coaches them through media interviews and press conferences. For all of her trouble she receives no pay.”

 “Later she confesses, “Friday I was on burnout–I can’t catch up sometimes. I don’t think I got five hours of sleep all last week. . . . I don’t know how long I can keep going like this.” Milano knows that she courts exhaustion by keeping this schedule. A vegetarian, she worries about “keeping my health and mind straight” but smokes a pack a day. “I don’t relax well,” she admits. “I’m a real nervous Nellie.” But she shows no signs of slowing down.” 

 “It seems that no one thinks about how Susan is supposed to live, either. Being a full-time, unpaid advocate has been hard financially. When we first met, in late February, she said rather wistfully, “I’m all on my own. I get paid by writing speeches, doing fund-raising, consulting, writing articles. It’s pretty hand-to-mouth. . . . I keep waiting for someone to come and say, ‘We’ll hire you.'” But none of the agencies seemed interested.”

On our many phones conversations over two years, I would hear Susan crunching on some snack as we talked, with a “creaky cupboard “making noise in the background in her home. I asked her once, “Susan, how well do you live?” Her response, “Not very well, Donna.”

For all the thousands of Advocates out there who continue to forge a path for others selflessly, carry on, but make a Plan B for a steady income…  You deserve it!

Looks Can be Deceiving: Victim Advocacy, A Life’s Mission, but Never Fully Compensated