Catalyst for Change- Victim Impact Statement Resonates Across the Halls of Washington D.C. & with the Inspector General of Homeland Security 

 

The following narrative is a heartfelt account of a mother who lost many opportunities to guide and nurture a daughter who was re-establishing her life.

Wendy Hartling

Wendy Hartling (photo courtesy FOX Insider)

Consider the ordeal and evolution of Wendy Hartling of Norwich, CT.

  • Just a year ago, Wendy was  “just an ordinary citizen” and resident of Connecticut;
  • She was thrust into a whirlwind of circumstances which includes the murder of her 25 year old daughter, Casey Chadwick on June 15, 2015, after her body was discovered stuffed in a living room closet by an illegal immigrant and multiple felon;
  • With the assistance of dedicated advocates including her attorney, Chester Fairlie and the Connecticut Congressional delegation,  her case has served as the catalyst for change regarding the innumerable deportation failures of ICE – The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency;
  • As overwhelming as it is, Wendy has become a local advocate and national spokesperson for her daughter and for all persons who have been re-victimized by the failures of ICE.

The murder of Casey Chadwick is a stunning example of the domino effect at its very worst. Worse than bureaucracy, indifference, incompetence and misplaced priorities, it costs the lives of valuable human beings and allows a vicious, nearly two time murderer to come to the U.S. illegally three times to carry out his crimes! This can no longer be tolerated! 

Wendy’s Testimony at the House of Representatives COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM

Hello. My name is Wendy Hartlng. My life will never be the same after June 15, 2015. I am here on behalf of my daughter Casey who was stabbed to death and stuffed into a closet by a criminal alien, Jean Jacques. He was found guilty of attempted murder in 1996 and served sixteen years in Connecticut Prison. He should have been automatically deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement when he was released from prison. Instead he killed Casey on June 15, 2015 and was found guilty of her murder after a trial. My hope is that he never gets out of prison.

According to laws passed by Congress, Jacques should have been deported. ICE had him in custody and detention three times. Tragically, ICE released him three times and he killed Casey just a few months after his last release by ICE. From defensive wounds we know that Casey fought courageously and that she suffered greatly before her death. If ICE and Homeland Security had done their job Casey would not have died and I would not be here as part of the club of Homicide Survivors which no parent wants to join.

My Attorney Chester Fairlie has written an article on the failure of deportation of criminal aliens. I would like to submit a copy of the article s part of my testimony. Mr. Fairlie states “This miscarriage of the deportation process contributed to the death of Casey Chadwick and caused grief and suffering to her parents and friends.” I understand that the Inspector General of Homeland Security has undertaken a full investigation of the Jacques failed deportation case and we are awaiting the report.

My daughter was loved so much by family and friends. Over three hundred people came to her wake. Casey and I were very close. She called and texted me every day. I can no longer talk to my daughter, hold her, hug her or just simply hang out with her or go out to eat which was one of her favorite things to do. This breaks my heart every second of every day. Casey’s best friend for thirteen years Crysta who came with me on this trip as support is devastated as is Casey’s boyfriend.

This is what I have lost. I can’t watch her walk down the aisle on the arm of her father. She will never have the chance of becoming a Mom, something she was thinking of before her death. She will never see her two nephews grow up or go to her siblings’ weddings. She will never again be at our family functions and holidays.

The tragedy of Casey’s death is not an isolated case and is occurring frighteningly often around the country.

Something has to be done to fix this horrible problem. I would never want any family to have to go through this. The pain is always with me. My heart is broken. I go to a Survivors of Homicide group which is very helpful.  An important thing I learned was that the pain will never go away. I have to learn to live with it. I am trying but it is the hardest thing for me in my entire life.

I was not prepared for Casey’s sudden death and I am doing the best I can. I was not prepared to become a Victim Advocate in her honor and I am doing the best I can. Thank you for listening.

Casey Chadwick

Casey Chadwick (photo courtesy FOX 61)

Commentary

The emotional upheaval of homicide is compounded by the task of crafting a cohesive, personal and impactful statement for the sentencing phase of a trial, or parole/pardons hearing. Wendy will utilize her public hearing testimony above as her victim impact statement.  Her wish is to become a long time advocate for this issue on behalf of Casey’s memory.

As a fellow homicide survivor, I believe that the most compelling aspects of her statement are: what she has learned “… that the pain will never go away and that I have to lean to live with it” and the fact that she was not prepared for the sudden death of her daughter, Casey, not prepared for this level of advocacy required to get justice. I ask you, how could anyone be prepared if they were in her shoes? 

If you have sufficient times – several weeks to months to prepare and require assistance with your victim impact statement, your investment in my customized victim impact writing service could be just what you’re looking for!

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

Important Reference Information:

http://fixdeportation.org/ Chester Fairlie’s Website;

Former Shattered Lives Radio Shows on this topic:

  1. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/insidelenz/2015/10/24/shattered-lives-illegal-immigrant-spared-deportation-murders-ct-woman
  2. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/insidelenz/2016/05/21/shattered-lives-atty-chester-fairlie–government-secrecy-ice

My Cup Runneth Over with Love – CCIRI on a Mission for Life

 

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There are times in life- moments, hours, days and experiences that we can NEVER re-capture!  Those who give and utilize their talents daily to assist others do not expect miracles.  It is a labor of love, something that is second nature for them.   And yet, on the path of life, there are those times that truly stand out and turn out to be life changing!

Such is the story of Atlanta’s Cold Case Investigative Research Institute /CCIRI whose calling it is to mold young minds who are interested in criminal justice, build humanitarianism and empathy for victims of crime.  If in the process, students’ lives are positively altered forever… well, so much the better. In fact, there are a thousand stories Sheryl McCollum, Criminologist and Founder of CCIRI, can relate which begin in this way.

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Fast forward to July 2015, and you are witness to a very unique expedition for justice and perhaps eventual resolution for selected families across the country.  Shattered Lives Radio picked up the action during a stop in the Arizona desert.   Sheryl talked with much passion and excitement .There  have been significant breakthroughs  even at this early stage in the tour – Cases in Atlanta, Alabama, New Orleans, Oklahoma, Arizona and as far as Utah.  Household names in the roster of crime, such as Mary Shotwell Little, Chandra Turner, Susan Powell, and others not so famous are included.  DNA submissions, discovery of new witnesses who can validate accounts and establish timelines,  Calling it like it is by ‘legal eagle’, Holly Hughes who skillfully engages the media, can go a long way to moving cases further along and giving families hope and endurance to “keep up the fight.”

However, the most amazing and unexpected part of their tour thus far, fill Sheryl, a larger than life personality and ever positive criminologist with wonder and awe! Why?   The outpouring of generosity – financially,  from single dollars  to larger amounts, , gas cards, small acts of kindness,  cultural enrichment,  free lodging, home cooked meals,  bottles of water,  airfare, victim families reaching out to other families, even  providing  Sheryl’s children  “buddy playmates” and on and on!  Indeed, as we face chaos and inexplicable violence in virtually every area of our country today, when all is said and done, generosity still reigns!

THEY’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN – Today is July 11th. The tour continues through the month of July and perhaps beyond July with a break in between.  Therefore, much is needed to complete their work. Although it is not expected, all donations are gratefully appreciated and put to very good use!  If you would like to assist in this venture, please send your contributions to:

DONATIONS:

Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI)

541 Tenth Street #235

Atlanta, GA 30318

 

It may be old fashioned , but this song from the 60’s by Ed Ames says what all the members of CCIRI feel:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvaQisHV8jw

Please continue to follow this wonderful adventure in justice with CCIRI and Shattered Lives Radio in the future!

Shattered Lives Radio

 

 

                                                                                   

The Bell Tolled with Reverence 137 Times

Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial

Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial

Former Meriden CT Police Chief, Robert Kosienski led the bittersweet day of honor on Thursday, May 21, 2015. For the 27th time, a sea of law enforcement, family members and State of Connecticut dignitaries paid homage to officers killed in the line of duty. Chief Kosienski performed his duties and Chairperson and Master of Ceremonies for the Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation with dignity and unwavering commitment.

Connecticut has yet another first ever distinction regarding the first law enforcement memorial of its kind in the country (although not without some who dispute it). The Connect State Police Force is also the oldest in the U.S.

The history of this beautiful monument has to be seen to truly be appreciated. Through private donations over a period of several years, it finally came to fruition in October 1989. Encased in a portico like structure, surrounded by a winding brick way and floral arrangements, the pyramid-shaped monument with etched names of the 137 killed, represents a time span currently from 1855 to 2010!   

Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial

Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial

Respect and ceremonial protocol dictated as state, local, federal officials, cadets in training, the Connecticut Honor Guard, the Waterbury Police Fife and Drum Corps, the Bridgeport & Hartford Police Mounted (Horse) Units, a rifle salute and taps all took their rightful honored place in the ceremony.  However, time appeared to stand still, just as if God took a deep breath, when the 137 names and associated towns were read with officers standing at attention, followed by a solemn single “dong” of the bell after each name.

To be able to tour the lively memorial from afar and up close, to tactically feel the etched names and interact with some of the officer’s family members at the site and at a luncheon was an opportunity I will not forget!

Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial

Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial

In particular, I was able to talk with Debbie Agusto, relative to Officer Jorge Agosto, who was struck and killed while assisting another trooper at a traffic stop on Thanksgiving in November 1989, after two years on the job.  This man was the victim of a diabetic impaired driver, which we featured as a groundbreaking topic on a previous Shattered Lives Radio show!

I also met Carol Bagshaw, widow of Trooper Russell Badshaw. Trooper Bagshaw was shot and killed on June 5, 1991 after 4.5 years on the job.  In the course of his patrol duties, he interrupted a burglary at a sporting goods store. He was shot while still inside of his patrol car. He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

 

For More Information about Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation and to Make a Donation Refer to: http://www.ctneverforget.org/

The Bell Tolled with Reverence 137 Times

Fallen Officers

Fallen Officers

Fallen Officers

Fallen Officers

A New Normal…

 

Crime victims do not have the label emblazoned on their foreheads, but they might as well once their circle of friends and co-workers know what has occurred. They carry on with the business of life, but how can you?

When the crime and the loss of your loved one first occurs, your entire world has been turned upside down and inside out.  You retreat; you’re numb, in shock and disbelief. You “have an idea” what should occur with the police and the judicial system as you are smart and keep up with current events (or so you think.)

You are either a doer and try to arrange, organize, and  call investigators twice a day for the latest information (that they cannot divulge), all in an attempt to postpone the gut wrenching grief …Or you are condemned to the couch in a fetal position looking for a reason to go on.

Your family members are “all over the place” with their emotions. They want to talk about it, or not at all, they try to seek comfort in their own ways and may resist your attempts to band together in solidarity.  If relationships are strained to begin with, thrusting people into this incomprehensible situation can fuel the fire.  It is the rare family who can put aside their differences and be troopers in the face of violent crime. However, it is possible.  Such complex dynamics remind me of the classic movie “The Big Chill”: (Part 1 of 6)  A bunch of misfit college friends are thrown together over the loss of their friend’s suicide.

After violent crime, your friends and co-workers are supposed to be your anchors, right?  Well, not really!

Co-workers and friends may secretly feel that the family did not take measures to prevent or intercede, that they were somehow partially responsible.

If the case is high-profile with the media, there are ever-present reminders, innuendo, rumor and misinformation.

Knowing that your average adult attention span is fleeting for “normal conversation,” how do you engage with them repeatedly with your tragedy? How can they possibly relate? How can they sympathize? Unless they have been through it, they cannot. You do not know it, but you are a burden to the workings of other’s normalcy! It’s not you! It’s they who are so uncomfortable! It is not your job to make them feel comfortable when you are actively grieving.

One of my favorite sayings for this intersection of life was that after the homicide “the casseroles stopped coming after two weeks.” Yup, two weeks is the average attention span for those who cannot relate!

Therefore, you MUST change-up your friends for those you grieve with and have a common bond with, such as a crime victim’s support group become your true friends, your surrogate family for as long as you need them! However, for some, there is that temptation to take on the victim identity for too long, unable to establish a “new normal.” BEWARE my friends of the pitfalls of grief! The pitfalls  can “eat you up and spit you out for dinner” if you do not have the proper guidance to help you navigate for the long haul.

It is rough terrain indeed! Even thirty plus years down the trail, I am not perfect. I wear the scars of vulnerabilities and some regrets for which I have no control.  Ahhh, but wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to dance again, “just like at the end of the Big Chill” movie despite the tragedy that has occurred. It is sign of healing, if only for a minute!  Who wants to dance with me?  The Big Chill Dance Scene: 

With that said another aspect of the aftermath of crime whose drum cannot be beaten enough, is the task and importance of the Victim Impact Statement which can, if carefully crafted, change the outcome of sentencing and any former thoughts of prisoner release with the proper assistance.

Contact me if interested! https://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/