Sep 27, 2008

Cindy Renn Talks About Petit family Crimes

Below is an honest and heartbreaking look at the effects of the Petit family murders, from the perspective of family member Cindy Renn, only sibling and sister of Jennifer Hawke Petit, the 48 year old mother of two who, along with her two daughters Hayley and Michaela, was murdered in last years home invasion in Cheshire. The story is excerpted from a local newspaper in Cindys home state of North Carolina.

In my opinion, stories like this are most essential when it comes to violent crimes. For many people, it is only in hearing about the personal details of the crime that they can truly grasp the scope of life-altering pain that is part and parcel of every violent crime. It is within these details that most news stories do not delve. Typically, we are given an antiseptic recounting of the facts of "the case", how many murdered, when and how and by whom, or we are fed a voyeuristic seeming clutch of details regarding the crimes, usually for the sake of sensationalism equals ratings.Meanwhile all would seem to steer clear of any coverage of the true human element; the spiritual and moral crisis that occurrs when any of us becomes intimate with violence and brutatlity committed against one human being by another.
This article which is in effect an interview, strays from the beaten path and cites such things; details like Mrs Renns heartbreaking account of her search to find any intact remnants of her sisters and nieces lives, left in the now burnt out shell of a home where the crimes took place: The terrible smell of the few items that she did manage to salvage, that repeated washings never seem to completely remove.

She shares with us in perfect recall her last phone conversation with her sister on the day of the murders, and the self-tortuous thoughts that if she had only kept her sister on the phone just a little while longer, maybe, just maybe, she could have somehow caused her and her niece to avoid their fateful intersection with the two men that wound up targeting and stalking them for an evening of criminal rampage.

These are but a few of the painful memories and emotional wranglings that this family has surely had to endure as a result of this crime. And while it is certainly tempting to turn away from these very real and very painful details, sparing ourselves the collateral pain that is sure to result from becoming privy to them, I propose that it is essential that we do not turn away, we do not turn the page.

At one point in the story Cindy wonders aloud about the last moments of her sister and her nieces lives,what they thought, what they felt as they were being prepped to be killed, horrible thoughts yes, but real- this happened, and we owe it to these victims to put ourselves in thier shoes when we visit this crime in our hearts and minds. We will then carry this feeling into any proper adjudication of this criminal case.

It is not neccesary to swim forever in these troubled waters however, and this is where it gets hard for some people, particularly the very sensitive among us and those closest to a crime like this. In the best scenario, we can take our feelings of empathy, outrage, grief and disgust and use them as powerful impetus for change within a system that too easily allowed this to happen.

The Bottomline is that as caring and compassionate human beings, we have a basic debt to our sisters or brothers that have fallen victim to violence, to allow ourselves to consider thier experience and to listen. Listen to thier pain, in doing so, we share in thier burden ever so gently, They are not alone.

At the end of the following reprinted article is a link to the story as originally published in The News Observer. It contains photos as well as an audio taped interview segment with Cindy Renn that is very moving.
CHAPEL HILL - Cindy Renn relives July 22, 2007, in her head every day.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. She was talking to her older sister. They had talked twice that day. They were planning an August trip to Carolina Beach.
"'I just can't wait to have a North Carolina beach vacation,'" Renn remembers her sister, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, saying.
Renn, of Chapel Hill, and Hawke-Petit, of Cheshire, Conn., were both busy raising teenagers, but they tried to get their families together at least once a year. As girls, the sisters had vacationed at Carolina Beach.

That day in July, they hung up from their first call. Then, later, Hawke-Petit called again to confirm that her whole family was coming.
Renn couldn't talk. She was on her way to her children's swim-team potluck. She told her sister she would call her right back once she got on her way.

She dialed her sister back -- she remembers it was at 5:33 p.m. No one answered.
Hanging up from that second call eats at Renn every day.
"If I had talked to her longer, they would not have met those guys in the parking lot," Renn says. "Maybe they wouldn't have been there."

She says this because she's pretty sure that after they hung up, her sister left home with her daughter Michaela, to go to the grocery store. And that's where police believe two men, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, both with long criminal histories, spotted them and followed them home.
About 3 a.m. the next day, police allege, those two men found an unlocked door and broke into the Petits' home. They terrorized the girls -- Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17 -- and one drove Hawke-Petit to a Bank of America to withdraw money. When they returned, police say, they killed Renn's sister and her daughters.
It's a case that echoes the killing of UNC student body president Eve Carson. According to reports, two men with long criminal histories kidnapped Carson early in the morning and drove her to a Bank of America, forcing her to withdraw money. Then they shot her, in a neighborhood that resembles the Petits' Cheshire subdivision.
For Renn, the randomness of her sister's death -- and Carson's -- haunts her. That something so horrible could happen for no reason, on such an ordinary day, forced her view of the world from an optimistic, upbeat outlook to losing her belief in innocence.

It's why she goes over the details that would have changed the outcome. A preschool teacher, Renn says she's afraid that she's obsessed with her grief.
Now, she has to learn to live with it the rest of her life.
'Just have to know'
The deaths of Hawke-Petit and her daughters made national headlines, covered by the likes of The New York Times, People magazine and Dateline NBC.
After the initial media blitz and memorial services with thousands in attendance, Renn was left to figure out how to grieve such a violent event that left three family members dead.
She's constantly checking the Web for new details on the case. She's read every article. Every affidavit. Every warrant. The transcripts of the 911 calls and police conversations.
"I just have to know; I have to understand how it happened," she says.
She knows that the intruders beat Hawke-Petit's husband, Billy Petit, with a baseball bat and tied him up, leaving him for dead in the basement. They went upstairs, raped Hawke-Petit and Michaela, and tied Hayley to her bed.
Before the sun rose, police believe, Hayes went to buy gasoline before taking Hawke-Petit to the bank, forcing her to withdraw $15,000. When they returned to the home, Hawke-Petit was strangled, and the gasoline was poured on the girls. The house was set on fire.The girls, tied to their beds, died of smoke inhalation.
Billy Petit, a prominent doctor in the area, escaped out of the basement. Then flames engulfed his home and his family.

The intruders tried to flee, but police had surrounded the house and arrested them six hours after they'd entered the Petit home.

Renn's thoughts are always going to the last minutes they faced. She wonders about her sister being raped and strangled; her little niece -- sweet, sweet Michaela -- being molested and Hayley, a tall girl who was about to start her freshman year at Dartmouth University, having gasoline poured on her.

Renn never says the names of the accused -- just calls them "the guys." She wants them to die.

"I didn't think I would have that anger," she says.

She's attended most of the hearings for the accused, including a pretrial in July where she sat just feet from Hayes and Komisarjevsky. She imagined her eyes being daggers, so with one look they would be dead.

"They just look like evil, puny, wimpy men, which is sort of surprising for what they pulled off," she says.

She plans to rent an apartment for the trial, expected to take place in 2010. "It makes me sad because when my son is a senior in high school, I will be leaving part of the year for the trial," she says. "I'll feel cheated out of that year of his life. But on the other hand, I feel obligated. I think my sister would have done it for me."

Brother-in-law had nothing

The day after the killings, Renn flew to Connecticut with her husband, Bill, their two children, and her parents.

They rushed to the hospital to see her brother-in-law, who had almost bled to death after suffering blows to his head.

"I know you don't want to see me," Renn remembers him saying as he lay in his hospital bed. "I know you wish it was her who was lying here."

Renn assured Billy they were grateful at least one person had survived. But he didn't want to be alive, she says.

As they sat in the hospital lobby, Renn saw her sister's face on the news. That's when she realized it really had happened. And this hit, too: Her brother-in-law had nothing. No house. No wife. No kids.

Renn went to her sister's house, too. From the front, it still looked like the idyllic sage green, American colonial on the corner lot the family had lived since 1989. From the back, it was just a shell, burned from the fire.

Everything inside was gone, including the family's pets. Renn and other family members endured the horrid smell of burned flesh as they searched for anything that could be saved. Renn grabbed a few things in the house: a summery pink and green skirt her sister loved; Hayley's Vera Bradley bookbag.

Both had to be washed dozens of times to get the smell out.

Renn is always scared. She's always making sure her doors are locked. When she goes to bed, she swears she hears people walking downstairs.

Nightmares haunt her sleep. In them, her house is on fire, and she thrashes around trying to figure out who to save first.

To cope, she wanted to connect with someone who'd gone through a similar experience, so she joined Compassionate Friends, a group for people who have lost a child or a sibling. She was too afraid to tell her story in detail until she met a woman whose daughter was stabbed to death.

"I thought I would scare everyone to death," she says. "I can't let them be horrified."

Carson was killed in March, just miles from Renn's home. Renn sobbed and didn't sleep for days after Carson's killing.

"That someone was running around in our own town," she says. "[Carson] seemed like a wonderful person."
Renn's church made a quilt for Carson's family; church members decorated the quilt squares. Renn wrote a note on her patch.
"I lost three family members to a violent murder," she wrote. "I feel for you and feel for your family."

Then she wrote her phone number and offered for them to call in case they wanted to talk.

A few months before the the deaths of her sister and nieces, Renn had read a true story, "Theresa: How God Orchestrated a Miracle," in which a 2-year-old was beaten, raped and left for dead but survived. Renn remembered that the girl's family in the book forgave the men who hurt their daughter.

"I thought it was odd that family was able to forgive them," Renn says.

But she wanted to make some of her hurt go away, so she decided she needed to forgive the men accused of killing her family.

She wrote letters to both men but never sent them.

She told them about her sister, who chose to become a nurse and take care of people, and how Renn had always looked up to her. She described her nieces: Michaela, an animal lover who always befriended the outsiders, and Hayley, a rower who had plans to follow in her father's footsteps and become a doctor.

"They were everything to us," Renn wrote.

"I'm sorry I couldn't be your teacher to have taught you the basics," she wrote. "I was raised to believe we are all children of God. I'm sorry you didn't choose to believe that."

Then, she wrote, "I forgive you ... because that will help to set me free."

But now, she's not so sure she can forgive the men. She believes her need to forgive was selfish, thinking it would make the pain go away.

Today would have been her sister's 50th birthday, and she's not here to celebrate it, and those guys are to blame.

"I believe God wants us to hate evil, and to me they are evil in its purest form," Renn says. "I don't feel compelled to forgive evil."
To contact the area chapter of Compassionate Friends, call 877-969-0010 or go online to

Sep 24, 2008

Appalling Crimes

Warning; The linked article concerning the Groene family crimes contains graphic and very upsetting facts concerning the kidnappings of Shasta and Dylan Groene and the subsequent murder of little Dylan at the hands of Joseph Duncan a previously convicted and out- on- bail child rapist.

I write about these cases because I feel strongly that the public needs to understand the potential violence that our courts are routinely releasing upon our innocent citizens every time that they offer;

lenient plea bargains with lowered charges for violent crime or crimes againt children

probation with suspended sentences,

early release parole,

and irresponsibly low bail amounts
Such as the 15,000 bond that Joseph Duncan was released on when he committed the murders and kidnappings of the Groene family members, leaving 4 people dead including two children, and an 8 year old survivor who must now battle the memories of unbelieavable brutality and carnage. Eight years old.

In order for Shasta, who is now eleven, to heal will require money. She will need every
possible advantage in overcoming her experience with violent crime, and this will continue to require counseling and funds.

Her dad, Steve Groene,has been treated for cancer recently and lost his voicebox as a result.
He is now unable to work full time. The two have faced difficult economic times as a result of his illness as well as the murder of Shasta's mom and step-father.
Their community has come together to build a home for Shasta and her dad which they have thankfully now moved into. The house is in a trust for Shasta and she will assume full legal ownership when she is 25 years old.

A fund has also been set up for the homes property taxes for the coming years.The goal to set aside the property tax monies for the rest of Shasta's life. We can all help with even the most modest of donations, for every little bit adds up. Donations can be sent to;

Windemere/Coeur d'Alene Realty
Attn: Midge Smock c/o Shasta Groene
1000 Northwest Blvd
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Appalling Crimes: Investigation at

Sep 17, 2008

Road race generates $225,000

With all of the horrible things that Ive been reading and writing about lately, it was most heartening to come upon this piece of news regarding The Petit family Road Race this past July; The official totals are in and it looks like the entire race day event raised a whopping 225,000 for The Petit Family foundation!

The foundation raises money for victims of violence and several other very important causes-
That is a lot of lives that will be made better thanks largely to the contagious spirit of goodwill and generosity that began in the town of Cheshire in the months following the tragic home invasion which took the lives of three members of a beloved local family.

The desire to extract something positive from such a terrible violent act seems a natural outgrowth of the memories of the three people who were taken within that set of crimes; Jennifer hawke Petit and her daughters Hayley and Michaela, were each known for an uncanny spirit of altruism and kindness. The people of Cheshire, Plainville and indeed the rest of the state, have strived to honor that spirit by adopting it as their own, perhaps sparked by the words of the lone survivor of the attack Dr Bill Petit, who,within his family's memorial oration , closed with these now-infamous words;
"If anything is to be gained from the senseless deaths of my beautiful family, it is for us all to go forward to live with a faith that embodies action; ,love your family, help a neighbor, fight for a cause."

Bravo to everyone who contributed to the race day event, in even the smallest of ways.
And of course thank you to the founder of the event, and the Petit Family foundation, Dr Bill Petit, a man whose grace, courage and integrity have become a shining example for us all.

Sep 11, 2008

September 11th - A Survivor's Story

This 9/11 survivor's story  speaks volumes about this terrible day in our history, exactly seven short years ago.

Her experience, as all of the victims' of that day- whether they survived or not, is the very embodiment of this entire tragedy, its definition. And as with any violent crime, it is only through a victims eyes that we can truly comprehend the full weight of it.

Sept 11th Story

This is the entire article in Time magazine that the story was excerpted from, for those interested  September 11th A Nation Remembers

Sep 5, 2008

Is There an Army Cover Up of deaths of Women soldiers?

Too many non-combat deaths for women.

A few months ago I'd heard that there were record numbers of US military women committing suicide in IRAQ this past year. Yet something about the numbers and the facts surrounding this did not sit right with me at the time- but I pushed it back into that part of my brain that says look into this later when you have more time and information. And Now I know that the almost- visceral sense of unease and dread that I felt then, indeed had its roots in fact.

'Why, I remember thinking,' is there such disproportionate number of women soldiers committing suicide in Iraq and not anywhere near that many men? '
I knew what the reflexive, although unofficial, military answer would likely be,and so I will debunk it, depite the fact that it is not even official;
Women are"naturally" more sensitive, and as such, more prone to experience anxiety depresssion and PTSD during active war-time.( In other words, men are tougher)
This doesnt add up when so many of the women who died susppiciously were described as not at all depressed when they died and even often the term "upbeat",and other like it were used by other soldiers within the deceased's unit, superior officers and family members, the latter who had in many casesspoken to their loved one days or weeks within their so called "suicides" .

As you look over the nooniefortin website you will see that 2007 was the worst year overall with 27 deaths of female soldier since the inception of "Operation Iraqui Freedom ". Interesting that the very first articles written about this entire issue within the mainstream media were late last year/ early this year-- and thus far, we've seen a rather yearly-proportionate drop in these deaths so far in 2008.

Perhaps the US military has begun taking some measures agaisnt whatever has actually been
going on-and believe me, they likely Know precisely what is going on, they are just not going to share about it openly-This is the US military's historic way of handling anything that can bring negative press, especially to an already unpopular war, experiencingwith recruitment shortages..

This by now classic subterfuge is compounding a very very serious problem and enabling the violence and murder to continue. If silence is a co-conspirator what then for those that would cover up brutality and violence? This is infuriating. Young women are putting thier lives at risk for the protection of thier/our country, indeed for all of us, AND YET they are being raped and killed in a foriegn land by the very men who are trained fight beside them!?

If the word rape caused you to flinch and say what let me say that We now do know for certain that there have been confirmed numerous documented cases of rapes of female soldiers as well as US female employees of military contractors, Many took a long time to prove and despite chronic subterfuge by higher ups within the military, they've been proven.
As well There have also been a handful of murders of female soldiers that were so overt that the army basically had to admit to them from the onset. (Ie there were witnesses.)

When looking at the figures which are very high for this kind of homicide,even when considering that this is a somewhat perfect environment for getting away with murder, I cannot help
but wonder if there isnt a direct correlation between the high incidence of rapes and possible homicides and the fact that army recruiting has been admiitedly dropping thier standards over the past 2 years. It's been well publisized that Army recruiters, facing dwindling recruitment numbers due to this wars growing unpopularity, and facing big pressure to meet thier quotas,have been giving out record numbers of "Moral Waivers" for men who have criminal records, including violent felonies like assault and even gang related activities.

The combination of an already violence-infused atmosphere, and the simple geographics of a very far away land which could seem to to offer the guise of a more lawless existance, combined
with the opportunistic shroud of sub-culture secrecy that is the United states military, well,
this could be a perfect combination for the criminally directed soldier to operate.

When reading about these cases of unexplained female deaths with barely a modicum of scrutiny, it beg the question- WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!
Official Causes of death that don't add up, details of deaths and autopsies withheld, tampered with, and lied about- on official records, as well as to the inquiring families.
Case after case after case. Read about some of them on the web links that I have provided below. There will be much more to follow.

It was one womans case of "noncombat incident" which cited Fatal siezures that really caught my eye in an otherwise perfectly healthy young female soldier. I was contemplating the fact that many times head injuries cause seizures, and I know from experience that often those same head injuries can have a surprisingly little-to-no visible bruising or overt symptomology-
and still cause death(specially if the temporal or occiputal area of the head are struck into a hard surface like a wall or floor. This gal was found in her quarters alone by her roomate.

Then I read about the very next female soldier on the list. I saw that This woman died inexplicably of an unexplained head injury-of seemingly unknown origin! She was found in her quarters alone as well. Head injuries from assaults are very common, as often the assailent will first try to render the victim defenseless,particularly prior to a sexual assault, but also in "imple assault." Its called a blitz style attack" and serial women killers are often known to use this to render victim compliant or unconscious.

Then there were literally a slew of so called "self inflicted gun shot wounds" -more "non combat incidents" under investigation- except where noted in other words where there were actually
witnesses to the woman being shot by a fellow male officer, or the death scene was so overtly a homicide. Other than these few cases, the inference seemed to be that
these other soldiers on this list had shot themselves. In fact 2 on the list that were previously under Investigation have reportedly now been declared sucicides vy the army according to one
of the liked articles.

Problem is that in several cases grieving family who were suspicious of what the army was claiming, investigated themselves and each time the result was that there was no way the woman could have or did kill themself given the facts of the death scenes. ie the manner in which the soldiers bodies were found, either in relationship to thier weapons, thier dominant hands, details such as a total lack of gunpowder on either hand, addnlunexplained injuries upon thier bodies such as bruising scratches, drag marks etc. The list just goes on and on and on.

Read about it, talk about it We owe it to the women that are fighting in our countrys name to have the truth about thier tragic and untimely deaths, told. Whatever they are. We also owe every other soldier the basic right of safety from those they would trust to be thier brothers, on the line.

Is there an army cover up

Sep 2, 2008

Petit family cousin Killed In Georgia,0,6051247.story

I just heard the tragic news that a paternal cousin of Dr Bill Petit became the victim of a fatal Domestic violence incident this past week on August 23, in her own home in Athens Georgia.

Forty four year old Tracy Beaulieu, a native of Plainville Connecticut, was apparentlly
murdered by her estranged husband Dale Cook during the statistically-very - dangerous- time-period pre-ceding thier final divorce proceedings. Reportedly, Cook was angered by something that had occurred during the couples Court mediation proceedings earlier in the day. After the hearing He went to the former family home, bludgeoned his estranged wife to death and then fatally shot himself.

Tracy Beaulieu filed for divorce in february and the legal process was nearly over, when the
murder occurred. As mentioned, the period surrounding the cessation of any abusive
relationship is one of the most dangerous times for the abused- This includes emotionally abusive relationships where no overt physical abuse has neccesarily occurred...Yet.
Emotional abuse can include behaviors such as extreme jealousy and possessiveness, chronic belittling or degrading, purposeful isolation of the abused from family or friends Attempts to control partners career or school descisons, the goal typically is keeping the abused from any upperwardly mobile career/school decisons (=Independence)
And ultimately, the abuser will begin threatening the abused, her children, her Pets or even yes, the abuser themself---- ie suicide.
Example"if you leave me I will kill myself..."

To the abuser, a request or a filing for divorce or seperation, represents a complete loss of control -of his wife or partner. As such, this is when he may decide to exert the ultimate act of control, ending her life. This also may serve the dual purpose of ensuring that" if he cannot have her, no one will" .

A private funeral was held in Tracy's home town of Plainville Connecticut. He obituary describes an artistic, sensitive and kind person, someone who loved animals and the great outdoors.

She leaves behind three children and two grandchildren, all of whom presently reside in Bristol Ct.\
Reportedly Ms Beaulieu was very supportive of Dr Petit in the many long months following the devastating loss of his wife and children in a violent crime which rocked the entire state of Connecticut.Her family has listed the Petit Family Foundation as a charitie that will recieve memorial donations in Tracy's name.
The Petit family foundation information can be found below-Online donations are also available by following the Web Address that is posted.

Ironically, one of missions of the Petit Family Foundations is to assist people affected by violent crime, Just recently, they helped to fund the construction of a new Domestic Violence shelter in New Britain, Connecticut.

Our thoughts and prayers are with both the Beaulieu and the Petit families.
We are so sorry that they must once again contend with the far reaching devastation of violent crime within thier family-fold.

Petit Family Foundation
P.O 310
Plainvilled, CT

Sep 1, 2008

Innocence lost: Unthinkable crimes committed against children still haunt St. Regis

These two articles about the Groene murders illustrate well the far reaching effects that violent crimes can have on so many. I have followed this case since 2005, when three members of the Groene family, including a 13 year old boy, were found brutally murdered in thier Cour De lene home and the two youngest children went missing, apparently kidnapped by the killer.

I had recurring thoughts about the deaths of this family for months. I prayed and prayed that the missing Groene children were still alive, although I feared the worst. I empathized deeply with the biological father of the children Steve Groene, whose face on the news clearly bore the anguish of the loss of one son and the growing possibilty that his youngest two might have met the same fate
I was thus overjoyed when most unexpectedly,Shasta,the younger of the two missing children, was found Alive and seemingly well at a Dennys restaurant in Cour de lene-of all places.
-My joy, was hampered however by the ominous abscence of 9 yr old Dylan, a boy whose sweet face had become seared into the collective consciece of a country.

Steve Groene announced on the news that thePolice and FBI were certain of nothing at this point and the family was still hopeful that Dylan be found alive, But the prospect of this seemed
grim. And on the internet,where evolving news is often ahead of and more comprehensive than mainstream media, bits of fact here and there began to paint a grim prognosis;of particular concern was Shasta's claim to responding law enforcemnt,that her brother Dylan was " in heaven now"
I can vividly remember hoping,that this claim was the result of a childsconfusion under deep duress, or perhaps a fanciful ideation-a notion that she assumed or pehaps was even told to her by her captor, albeit not true. Our minds did double time wanting to believe that this young
boy was still alive...Perhaps dylan was taken to another area and thekidnapper merely told shasts this to pacify her?.

We prayed and we waited-There was nothing else anyone could do.

Within days an announcement was made that Dylan was feared dead and a search was being conducted in an area that Shasta was believed to have been held captive, Days later we were told that remains had been found and they would be tested for Dylans DNA.
My heart just sunk."Remains" was all that was left left of beautiful innocent sweet Dylan Groene.
my heart just sunk.
The news followed that the remains were in fact Dylan and he was believed to have been shot and killed by the convicted pedophile Joseph Duncan, the man that Shasta had been found with.
I waited and waited for the trial, angry at the plethora of delays constantly thrown out by the defense attorneys for Joseph Duncan,III -A man now believed by the FBI and several crime bloggers to be a serial child killer, responsible for at least 3 other
sexual ssaults/murders of children since his release from prison for an aggravted rape and assualt that he committed when only 17 years of age.

I was still waiting two years later,when we had a violent tragedy right here in Connecticut-The Petit family of Cheshire had been kidnapped, assaulted and Mrs Hawke-Petit and her two daughters murdered in their own home. Dr Petit was assaulted but managed to survive.

I could not help but think about the Groene murders as the details of the Petit crimes unfolded. There were children involved in both sets of crimes, and murders of the adult parents of the children-- It appeared that both sets of murders were motivated by sex crimes against children, and in the Petit's case, also an adult woman for Mrs Petit had been sexually assaulted as was her her 11 year old daughter, before they were killed.

And While these two families may appear to be very different from one another on the outside-insofar as things like demographics economic advantages educational backgrounds and just plain lifestyles- those differences dissapear when violence like this befalls a family. In the end, it is their commonalities that matter.; These were both families with children that were clearly loved. Each had their own histories, spoke their own privatelanguage, nicknames, personal likes dislikes, and lifetimes of shared memories and milestones-Christmases birthdays, school plays and first days of school. And in both families, there were to be many more memories to come.

Those memories were stolen, in both cases by repeat offenders, each of whom were given way too many chances by thierespective Judicial systems, despite dangerous criminal histories in all of their cases; All three were on parole at the time that they committed these crimes-Duncan was on parole for one crime and on bail for another committed during his parole. They all had been given extremely low bail amounts on different occasions for serious crimes with a high potential for causing loss of life. None of them served their full sentences prior to parole, and all of them had been paroled recklessly with insufficient consideration fiven to the clear danger that they posed to our society.

It is clear from these cases and others like them that our judicial systems have become co-accomplices to dangerous predators like Joseph Duncan, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. In too many instances,we have had these killers within our systems grasp before they killed and they are routinely under sentenced, irresponsibly bailed, probated and paroled, with nary a consideration for their future victims,let alone the ones that they've already harmed.
And these two devastating crimes are but two of many, many others that occur every year across this country. We are facing a veritable crisis regarding violent crime. Wemust begin a process of change and reform in every state that has flaws within its handling of violent offenders. Bureaucracies rarely change on their own, they require consistent pressure from the outside and this demands our involvement on an individual and community level.

Please get involved. There are few "issues" that demand as much of your time and energy.
Learn who your local legislators are, they make your state's laws. Watch their records re crime and vote accordingly. Petition for tougher parole or no parole in your
home state for dangerous offenders. Push for Minimum sentencing and bail minimums
for violent crimes, including home invasion, sexual assault and all crimes involving children. We have learned a great deal about what types of crimes are pre-cursors to murders. We also have abundance of knowledge re predators of children and thierikelihood of recidivism. We must find a way to ensure that those offenders are not given a chance to harm another child.

Hold prosecutors and Judges accountable for lenient plea deals. We are intelligent people- If we are facing docket and prison overcrowding within our state, this is not an excuse to begin letting dangerous predators roam the streets.

More and more states are now handling their less serious crimes in alternative style courts where incarceration is the absolute last remedy, This saves money and beds in prison as well as serving to divert low level offenders who historically pose little to no threat to society, from a system that often consumes them.

Innocence lost: Unthinkable crimes committed against children still haunt St. Regis