From the moment John was arrested, I felt like I was vindicated. Through the initial stalking, people did not believe me; the police, hospital, family and friends…treated me like I was the crazy one. Treated me like I asked for it, I may have caused it to happen and held me responsible for becoming a victim. No one asks for domestic violence, no one asks to be terrorized, it’s not a goal people aim for. The vindication was a relief.
He was arrested in June 2001. The prosecuting District Attorney was an amazing woman, the best I can describe her now is like the character Grace Hanadarko from Saving Grace. She was straight forward, took no shit, had a tough yet beautiful appearance, yet very caring on the inside. I was in good hands. We had to wait for a couple of months for this case to be brought into court, which was scheduled for August 22, 2001.
Right after he was arrested is when my mom, Joan, started to become very ill. I have written about that time and it was beyond stressful, therefore having this bullshit court hearing piled on top of her dying was a level of trauma I can’t really explain. If you haven’t read about Joan, please go back through my blog, you’ll get a good idea about her. To help explain those 2 months, click on Joan here and you can read about this shitty time with her.
I thought once John was arrested, we would just have to wait for the court hearing, and I was terrified. I had to come face to face with him, I had to tell my side of the story, be cross examined…it caused me high levels of anxiety. I ended up running away from home for a week and stayed at a dude ranch far from home, so I could be “unknown” and feel safe and have no contact with anyone. Upon my return I had a message from the D.A. to call her, she informed me that there had been a development while I was gone. Apparently a woman (Vera) that used to work at the same hospital as us once before, called the D.A. and told her that I met with her. Vera told her I met her in a park on a specific day, we sat on a park bench and I admitted that I made the whole thing up and that it all was just a huge mistake. Grace gave me the details of the name of the park, the date and time and location of the bench. Grace then said, I know this isn’t true because you were at the dude ranch during this apparent meeting. I was at the dude ranch, 300 miles from my home, so the possibility of this happening was slim to none. Grace knew this and pressured Vera further about the subject. She then let her know what happens to people who interfere with a felony case and how much jail time she would be looking at. Vera caved immediately and admitted that John put her up to it.
Wow. This crazy fucker just doesn’t know when to stop. It did however, put a “nail in his conviction” and he was forced to plead guilty. He no longer had any leverage for a trial, hearing, nothing. He lost all credibility in that moment. Huge relief once again. I still had to go to court for his guilty plea, in 2001 victims didn’t have a lot of protection at hearings, especially because a stalking conviction was so rare and misunderstood about what the victim had gone through. I didn’t really have much time to think about it though, Joan was on her way to dying and I was stretched so far and so thin. Between the stalker and Joan, I was a mess. I got fired from my job at the hospital because I couldn’t focus, which was a fucked up blessing in disguise. It allowed me to be home with my son, focus on mom, wait for the hearing and process everything happening.
Joan died August 18, 2001. I was in court August 22, 2001. I faced that slimy son of a bitch 4 days after the death of my mother and I was strong! Joan was by my side in spirit and she gave me the strength. I could hear her words “Men are shit sweetheart, fuck him and the horse he rode in on. You can do this.” So I did. I sat there and listened and I waited for the judge to sentence him, but the judge asked John if he had anything to say before he handed him his sentence. John said yes and looked directly at me “I’m sorry for what I have put you and your family through, those weren’t my intentions and I hope you can forgive me.” That motherfucker just couldn’t stop, he had to speak to me one last time, he just had to have “his moment”. Psychopathic piece of shit. My blood boiled. I raised one eyebrow and gave him the death look and responded with “Fuck you”.
The judge handed him his sentence, and this part really just kills me. Because John had no prior history of domestic violence or stalking, a completely clean record; he served no jail time. He was guilty of a class 5 felony and now a felon, but no jail time. He was entered into a diversion program, something the county had started new, where John would go see a counselor through the court once per week at his cost for the next 3 years. There was a permanent restraining order against him for me, my son, family, work, and home. No restitution paid to me.
In that moment I thought “IT’S OVER!” It is finally over, I can now live freely and not be afraid, I can heal from this and the death of mom and get a new job. Nothing could have been further from the truth. “It” wasn’t over, I wasn’t free, healing didn’t begin and life just got worse.
No, John didn’t go away, but I have to stop for now.
To be continued….