In the Beginning: My 1987 Victim Impact Statement

Donna R. Gore

It had already been what most people would consider a long-suffering life by the time I had reached my 26th year, just out of graduate school and embark upon my first professional, paid job. There had been years of physical therapy, surgeries of two major types, hospital admissions so frequent, they became a “way of life”, speech therapy and discrimination in higher education saying, “I had too many disabilities to succeed.”

In reality, I did not consider it long-suffering, it was just routine when I was going through it as a child, something I had to do to maintain. I was resilient and had strong parents, grandmothers, and neighbors to get me through!

Then homicide happened. To say it was life altering was an understatement of mass proportion. But, fast forward to 6.5 years later after “baptism by fire” regarding the criminal justice system, the lack of resources for victims in 1981, the promise that the head detective should never have made, disillusionment, so many questions, few answers and so many mistakes made with the case to be revealed later on.

However, within that mix, there was also a rebirth of sorts of this disability and LGBT advocate. In a strange sort of way I had found a true calling, another way to assist others. My intellectual curiosity was peaked forever. I became a standout member of Survivors of Homicide, Inc. in Connecticut. We were honing our voices on behalf of others at a time when crime victim advocacy was in its infancy. There was lots of planning, planning, planning, coupled with support meetings, creating awareness and numerous media appearances, and events, including volunteer court escorting with new families, and a fundraising golf tournament, just to scratch the surface of our many years of intense dedication.

In the process of obtaining justice we had to wait, not so patiently, for 6 1/2 years for our voice to be heard as this former drug dealer and multiple murderer was busy with the judicial process regarding other charges.

Don Gore

My father, Donald Gore

At times, the wait was intolerable, but there was no getting around it. There were other surprises to come, for instance, the use of joinder (essentially stringing two cases together that have like elements and defendants in order to make an ultimately stronger case when one is lacking sufficient evidence to convict  with one jury.) During that time, I cut my teeth on the hard truths and tried to assist others as my means of coping.

The trial lasted three weeks. Summoning our courage, trying to keep our emotions in check, my mother and I separately delivered our first victim impact statement.

Looking back on it now, I could have said a lot more. I could have said it differently and maybe better. I could have painted a more holistic picture. That would come years later with time, experience, and thousands of additional words as a writer, and now published author.

I offer the original here as a brief testimonial from the heart. Stay tuned for the second victim impact statement in a forthcoming blog!

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT

Re Victim Donald W. Gore 

Written by Eldest Daughter- Donna R. Gore

I’d like to thank you for this opportunity; one that I doubted would ever come to be until a few months ago. 

It is difficult to explain the impact of my father’s death in a few short minutes. No words could do justice to his life or his memory. My father made mistakes in his life as every human being on this earth. However, he was not on trial and the good he did far outweighed the bad. His strong belief in the work ethic, responsibility to family, and providing for those less fortunate, some former employees who needed a job, a meal money, clothes…he was there to provide. 

He was also there when I was in need of 50 surgical procedures throughout my childhood-a time in which both of my parents made many sacrifices so that I might have a better healthier quality of life.

We have been deprived of a father, a parent and all that the role implies. But, just as importantly, my father has been deprived too. He has been deprived of the opportunity of seeing the achievements his family and friends have and will make; deprived of observing success as he measured it – financial security, a comfortable lifestyle, education, career, the possibility of marriage for his children and grandchildren. All that and more has been taken away or curtailed and often replaced with much struggle and pain especially for my mother and grandmother due to his needless death. The most sincere statement I can make is to say I miss him and always will. 

It is clear to me that Perry Lee Herring is the ultimate failure in society. This multiple offender has proven time and time again that he has total disregard for human life; that he cannot be rehabilitated. Why else would he randomly fire four bullets into an unsuspecting unarmed person? Was it all for a few dollars? It doesn’t make sense and it never will.

I would ask that when you pass sentence, you consider my father’s death as a very real loss for a number of people and that you consider the multitude of crimes this person has committed. I would ask if his life must be spared, that he be incarcerated for the rest of his life in a maximum security prison with no possibility of earning “good time.” Although no action you could take will return my father to us, imposing such a sentence will give us some peace of mind of which we have deprived for six and a half years. 

Thank you for your Consideration

Sincerely,

Donna R. Gore

6-30-1987

“Shattered Lives with LadyJustice” Debuts in February

Announcement of my new radio show, Shattered Lives.  I look forward to bringing my message to a new medium….talk radio!

SHATTERED LIVES examines the effects of those who have survived violent crime and how it has impacted their lives.

Real people, real tragedy, real help.

To see the future lineup and show times:  CLICK HERE

Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice, Shattered Lives

Donna R. Gore, known across the internet as “LadyJustice” is taking to the airwaves to bring her brand of humanitarian justice to listeners everywhere.  Her latest adventure…venturing into talk radio presenting guests whose lives have been shattered and changed by events beyond their control.  LadyJustice will bring these stories of tragedy and how each has dealt with it offering sound advice and help from experienced resources.

We all look at ourselves in the mirror…and it never fails… The same person always stares back. We use our soap, our mud packs, our cucumber slices…whatever… But even the most expensive or exotic treatments don’t erase the pain that is below the surface…..  Whether it is some form of crime victimization, accident, medical problem or life tragedy, Revlon was not designed to give the answers…….  Not on your life!

Who can humanize the victim who befalls such tragedy? SHATTERED LIVES… Who can tell what happened after the heartless event with a heart? SHATTERED LIVES…. Who can tell the back story? SHATTERED LIVES…..  Who can empower the families with some sense of hope by directing them to resources and information? SHATTERED LIVES…… Who can educate the public and families about organizations and service providers ready to help? … SHATTERED LIVES…. Who can tell them not to give up the ship, no matter what? SHATTERED LIVES….. Who can throw them an anchor?  SHATTERED LIVES….

Now everyone of use was made to suffer
Everyone of us was made to weep
But we’ve been hurting one another
And now the pain has cut too deep…
So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don’t let me keep on walking…
Walking on broken glass

Walking on walking on broken glass (Annie Lennox)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeW74EOfIIw&feature=related