He came to kill me: Don’t think for one moment he didn’t succeed.

BettyJean Downing Kling: The Majority United

Update: George Hartwig gets 30 years for shooting sister-in-law in the face: DV Justice at last

Let’s thank the Judge who cited DV statistics when she handed down the sentence!

Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi
Bergen County Justice Court
10 Main Street Hackensack,
New Jersey 07601

On December 15th. 2008 at approximately 8:50 pm Eastern, George Hartwig entered 540 North Main Street, Lodi, NJ with the intent to kill me.

That morning George came to that address looking for trouble of one kind or another. He said he was there for a receipt to an air mattress his estranged wife bought him a few months earlier when she arranged to rent him an apartment across town.  Denise , my daughter had spend 23 miserable years with this explosive man but she finally had enough the previous June evening when she awakened to sharp blows to her head and body and found George trying to kill her.

She begged for her life and finally convinced George she would hand over what he wanted, her pain meds. Denise was in the final stages of Ovarian Cancer weighing 80 Lbs.; she couldn’t bear for her son to find her bludgeoned to death when he came home.

Fearing his return, she had him arrested but also fearing his ire she failed to file a restraining order opting instead to pacify him with promises to help him get medical attention and institutional addiction placement. Denise had been through the revolving door of DV and knew he would be out in a short period of time. Sure enough, George waltzed in one day saying  “Hi honey, I’m home- I had ‘Let em go Lipton’ for a Judge”.

Convincing George she was too frightened to have him in the house and that her family would toss them both out if she allowed him back – he agreed to move into an apartment – and so Denise paid the rent and furnished it. Hence George was here for a receipt to the air mattress he burn through with a lit cigarette – or for drugs- we will never know.

Upon his arrival, Denise told George, he had the receipt but George continued to berate her and drag her around the living room demanding she locate it. Barely able to stand I intervened and George turned his anger on me and we began to argue. He wanted to know where I expected him to sleep that night and I told him I didn’t care if he slept on broken glass in the gutter.

I demanded he leave as I caught my daughter before she hit the ground and he informed me that

Dee just before he blugeoned her head open. Her late brother Mikie always framed in her pictures with her. She was asleep on that chair and it was that pillow covered with the blood that George used to taunt us that morning!

there was no restraining order and if I called the PD- it would be my ass getting hauled out of his and his wife’s house. Adding what would happen to Denise then if no one where there to protect her.

He immediately ran to the other side of the room and produced from behind a big chair a pillow covered with blood. Holding it up like a trophy- he reminded me that this was the blood from my daughters head!

Losing all composure, I told him I thought he was a low life punk who was so proud of his trophy full of blood that he was so low he could crawl under a caterpillar with a high hat on. How can a 250 Lb bruiser be so proud to hammer in the head of a dying woman? I then became hysterical and uncontrollable through falling tears and hysteria I heard him threaten to blow my brains out. I responded that he was not man enough to do that- he had been threatening to do it for years but all he was man enough to do was hack a sick girls head in while she was sleeping.  By this time others got between us as he attempted to attack me. He left. He called several hours later apologizing and telling Denise he found the receipt!

At almost 9 pm, he returned with a shotgun. Denise was sleeping, Louisa was at the very end of the couch working on her computer, nearly deaf, and she never heard him enter. When she spotted him hovering over Denis with a gun she immediately texted her son Marc 911 and then dialed her brother both who were within 3 blocks from the house.

Denise awoke to hear George demanding the phone and holding a gun. Groggy, she began looking for a phone to give him then heard a shot fire. When she turned to look all she saw was George peering down at her – the gun pointed at the ceiling. She had no idea what direction the gun shot landed nor where her sister was at the time. George now began pointing the gun at her and demanding pills.

By that time Louisa’s bother Tom had answered the phone, he did not hear the gunshot which apparently went off before he answered and after George realized Louisa was not going to give him that phone.  George shot her to prevent her from completing a phone call. A phone call which would have prevented him from getting the drugs he was after.

I have always thought – if he really thought Louisa was me- he would have not asked for the phone – she would not have gotten off a text and a phone call- and he would have gone right over to her and either recognized her or shot her anyway instead of nudged Denise awake.

What Tom did hear when he answered the phone was George screaming at Denise to get up and get him the drugs. He jumped in his car and Marc having received the 911Text had jumped in his car. They   each arrived and each entering from a different entrance, approached George while he was getting pills from Denise.

George turned the gun on Tom and pulled the trigger but the gun jammed. Before he could fire again, Marc jumped him from behind and subdued him until the police could arrive. Denise immediately dialed 911 and then they all noticed that Louisa was at the end of the couch in the dark not moving.

Louisa had suffered a shot to the face and head leaving her nearly dead. She currently resides in a State run hospital. I am in the process of looking into home care for Louisa as the long term care has proven to be totally inadequate for her care let alone rehabilitation LTC is more of an impersonal bed and medication ward for bodies attended to by overworked and understaffed floaters than a suitable care facility. Louisa is a young woman who deserves to be in a happy and caring atmosphere an attended to by care takers, and by doctors who actually examine her and prescribe with expectations of quality of life.

George was lucid enough to tell the officers exactly what happened that day and night – he says that he though Louisa was me and that he was very intoxicated and I had made him very angry and he decided to come over and kill me.

Denise Died from her cancer on March 7th. she went  to her death feeling  responsible for marrying the guy who shot her sister.

George has pleaded guilty throwing himself on the mercy of the court. He expects to get the minimum sentencing when all 10 counts including 2 attempted murders are to be served concurrently which looks like a sentence of 10-20. Serving 85% and time served … you figure it out!

Louisa remains incapacitated for life which should be another 40 years.  Make no mistake- the best part of me died that night! George Hartwig came to kill me and in many ways– he succeeded!

Below the pictures of what he did to both my daughters. First Denise helpless and dying of cancer:

The next is of Louisa- the result of George not wanting her to complete a phone call to her brother Tommy for help.     

In the summer of 2007 my daughters and our husbands had a vacation together- we ere the only family George hd for the last 23 years before he destroyed our world. He didn’t deserve us and we didn’t deserve him.

Our family holidays always inc. 4 generations: My parents Roy & Louise Downing; Bj & Dick Kling; Denise and her son Christopher; Louisa & Frank and her sons Marc & Joshua. Photo taken the Easter 2007 before Denise lost her hair. George took the picture.

22 Responses

  1. My heart breaks for all your loss, including the lack of justice for this so-called man. When we have taken from us that all that matters, a part of us dies, yet he will continue and never change his pattern due to a judge that does not get it.

    I am so sorry. I know nothing I can say or do will help but do know that you are loved by many. God will have a punishment for him that he cannot escape.

  2. A living nightmare, I don;t know how you cope. I admire your courage in what can only be described as the most catastrophic things that could ever befall a mother. As Lyn said, Justice is in God’s hands, the Bible says, vengence is God’s too. I wish I could help you put this nightmare to rest but I know, it is never ending. Am sorry.

  3. Heart-wrenching!!!
    I have already told work not to expect me on the 27th so I can stand by your side on the steps of the court house.
    Let me know what to do to get others to join us.

  4. Help-get-justice-for-louisa

    I need letters to the judge asking that George be given the full weight of the law and that he be sentenced to serve consecutive sentences so that he will be in there at least as long as the 40 years Louisa will be in solitary confinement as a result of the gun shot to her head!

    Will you join our a campaign and help us get others to go to Louisa’s blog http://louisaslaw.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/help-get-justice-for-louisa/ where you will find Louisa’s story and find the address to the judge.

    Please leave a copy of the letter there at Louisa’s blog so we can use all those letters to help us pass Louisa’s Law which we hope will strengthen DV laws.

    Please resend this to ass many as possible – we need to stand up and link arm in arm to make things right. Communicating only to each other will never solve a thing- we need to poole our energy.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  5. ((((BJ))))

    I’m always here for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family everyday.

    Posting this to my FB

  6. The Honorable Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi
    Bergen County Justice Court
    10 Main Street
    Hackensack, NJ 07601

    Re: The sentencing of defendant George Hartwig, in the State of New Jersey vs. Hartwig

    Dear Judge DeAvila-Silebi:


  7. Betty Jean,
    Your spirit is very much alive. Don’t allow that monster or any other evil spirits to take the part of you that glows and is so needed here on earth.
    I for one don’t know what I would have done without you, my sister.
    I love you dearly and pray that God give to you what you need..the strength to walk forward with the peace that you’re exactly where you’re suppose to be and with Joy because He has blessed us with you.

    • Thank you Barbara,

      Remember that old song why? Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don’t they know its the end of the world- it ended when you said goodbye!

      Well its kinda like that- when a mother looses three children – a very big part dies- and it never returns- I gave birth to those three choldren and now two are gone from the earth altogether and the other is all but gone and my heart is so broken and battered that I cannot recover from that pain.

      Barbara – I cry every day- every single day. But the sun goes on shining and the sea rushe to the shore and so much more continues to go on and I am needed to move forward so I do. My 3 orphaned grandsons need me and Louisa would surely die if I were not there to care for her. the Long term care facility is a nightmare.

      Not only did George take a piece of my heart that day by shooting my precious daughter but my son the only remaining child has done damage by blaming me and making sure that I do feel respinsible for angering him to the point of his return with a gun!

      Oh common sense, the pictures of what he did to Denise and the record of abuse shows me it was bound to happen anyway but that it happened and that he said he came for my head and mistook my daughters head for mine will forever haunt me. That is exactly what he meant to do- he meant to kill me softly by laying that on me even though it probably isn’t true and I know that!

      As a mother – I can’t help but look at my baby girl and wish I had taken the shot in head instead of her! And when my son tells me he wishes I had – and that he might make sure that I will in the end- I worry not for my head but who will take care of Louisa when he does!

      I only say this because – I don’t want him to get away with it anymore than I want George to get aways with it- so I am documenting the abuse!


  8. Dear BJ, God only knows how you continue survived this terrrible ordeal. I know, because you are really needed by the women of the world to protect them from the evil predators that roam the face of the earth in the form of a loved one You know you have my full support for Louis’s Law and I too will join you on the steps of the Court House to see this animal get the sentence he deserves. I hope other states will join our cause thus making Louisa’s Law the law of the land when it comes to Domestic Violence.

  9. We should let the women decide what his fate should be. I guarantee you, he would not live to see the light of day.

  10. “Its me Louise” told me to fight my own battles then turned off her hearing aid saying she had no intention of listening to those dirty words I was repeating!

    Apparently I am not allowed to utter to her ears what he is allowed to hurl at me in my own home with her obvious blessings. That which you permit you obviously condone!

    The last thing I said was if he doesn’t have to respect me- how do you expect respect from me?

    She hasn’t spoken to me since!

    To tell the truth – Its been 3 weeks without my mother screeching at the top of her lungs; degrading, humiliating or abusing me- what a vacation. Who knew- I would have raised my voice and cursed sooner!

    Anna, like me – you are an Italian daughter – remember the rule? We do as we are told – we keep quiet and never talk about family matters outside the house and never talk bad about the family.

    Well I have more than paid my damned dues and honor thy mother and thy father is over rated in some cases! ENOUGH!

  11. Dear BJ,
    If you get lucky maybe he will beat the hell out of your mother.
    But this time you are forbidden to go to her aid and rescue her. She deserves to rot in hell. She is a disgrace to the real Mothers of the world. Let me know when we march on the Court House. Love Ya,


  12. Georgime- thanks for the letter and if the gang will lso write – I would be so very grateful. Thanks you my dear friend – you haVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE AND MY GREATEST FAN ALL THESE YEARS- . yOU ARE LIKE THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS- i LOVE YOU !

  13. BJ & all the wonderful Ladies on this post:
    Hope to see you on the 27th on the NJ court steps that will finaaly give justice to BJ’s daughters, her and their loved ones!!!

  14. BJ and everyone.

    Happy 2012 to all.

    I sent you an email this morning for posting. Please review and add final date for mailing.


  15. National Organization for Women-NYS
    1500 Central Avenue , Albany, NY 12205
    Phone: 518-452-3944 Fax: 518-452-3861
    http://www.nownys.org Email: Info@nownys.org

    Dear Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi,

    I am the President of the National Organization for Women-New York State and a friend of Betty Jean Kling. Ms. Kling is the former mother in law of George Hartwig.

    As reported to me by Ms. Kling, George Hartwig, bludgeoned his estranged wife, a dying woman, Denise Richardson in the head before she died of cancer then returned and shot her sister, Louisa Richardson Rodas nearly killing her. He tried to kill his brother in law but according to reports, the gun jammed before he was taken down by a family member and subdued until the police came.

    I understand that Hartwig has pleaded guilty to eight counts and threw himself on the mercy of the court asking for a minimal sentence based on his incapacity due to his proclaimed drug induced actions. Instead of consecutive sentences of 60 + years he wants 20 which will have him out of jail in about 12 years. Louisa Richardson Rodas will serve about 40 years because she is permanently in solitary confinement having lost half of her head from the shotgun blast. She remains completely healthy except she cannot sit, stand, speak, see, eat, or recognize her own children. She will live a long life of nothing! One must ask question, “Why should George Hartwig get less?”

    Too many times, women who are victims of abuse pay the ultimate price. First by enduring the abuse and then by judges who do not sentence the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law. We urge significant and effective sentences; we must eliminate or reduce plea deals and strictly enforce laws to eliminate Violence against Women. We ask you do so in this case as Hartwig is a repeat offender and his pleas are just another way of dodging what he deserves.
    I understand that you are a fair jurist. I support full and consecutive sentencing.

    Marcia A. Pappas

  16. BJ,
    AS always I am thinking and praying..I mailed my letter a while back but lost the copy when my phone died. Do you have a copy?
    I am happy to see so many women wrote letters, especially Marcia Pappas, I wish we could clone Marcia in every chapter of NOW. This issue of domestic violence should be a major platform for NOW. IT KILLS WOMEN. One in six women are abused in their homes,NOW should be yelling their heads off, instead NOW has chosen the political grandstanding issue of abortion. claiming to protect a womens choice…STOP Please…and look at the true non partisan issue of domestic violence…It’s 2012 and women do NOT have a choice when it comes to abuse.Start protecting women by fighting for laws that put monsters like George in JAIL. EVERY woman regardless of political party, religion, race is entitled to be represented by NOW.The abusers of women need to be sent a message….NO MORE. WE should be marching in Washington by the millions for this issue. NOT sure but I think it safe to safe to say..Domestic violence destroys more lifes than a womens choice to have or not have a child.
    I wish you PEACE, my friend and Thank you for all you do

  17. Thank you for your thoughtful comments and for all the online support we have had over the past 3 years. Our work is not over- we have to be grateful for what we have – the perpetrator was sentenced to the full extent of the law. We need to thank the judge and we must get to work on Violence against women and children reform so that appropriate sentencing is available to be meted out!
    I would like to explain why I am satisfied with the sentence and why I am thanking the judge. Unfortunately, DV laws are weak; judge’s sentences are often weaker here and across the nation. Usually minimum sentences are given and they are served concurrently and rarely do you hear a judge cite DV statistics.
    This case was so different – it was as they should be and a prime example for every case.
    I am working hard and would ask that you and others join me in my efforts to pass Louisa’s law will strengthen DV laws so that judges like Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi have a case to hand down harsher sentence- right now they can only sentence based on the laws and sentences for what is on the books. This judge gave him all that she could and she told him why!
    If we want more we will have to make specific laws to give judges the ability to sentence under. I need your help to do that. To join us in this effort email me BJ@Free-US-NOw.com and put Louisa’s Law in the subject- we need and can accept donations under 501 c3 at http://themajorityunited.org/main/womenvsviolence.htm . Please get involved.
    “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand: there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend; some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.” –Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
    J. R. R. Tolkien has the talent for putting thoughts into words that I, as her representative and that of her children cannot. How could I possibly put into words our journey and all the events that brought us to where we are today? These past three years, I have asked myself, “What does the human spirit need in order to heal and move on?”
    I have settled on the following, we need a safe place to share our pain and be acknowledged, we need compassion, and need to know that we and others will be protected from the perpetrator, we need accountability — someone who will hold the perpetrator accountable, we need restitution for the losses incurred by the victim, and we need justice (not revenge) but vindication — to be set free. Scars remain, but healing is sufficient so as not to continue to be held in bondage to the trauma.

    Again thank you. I want you to know that we worked tirelessly to write this judge and she received no less than 300 letters from all over the country and several other countries as well urging her to do the right thing. See some of the letters here: http://louisaslaw.wordpress.co…..or-louisa/

    I bring this up to show that the old adage “it’s the squeaky door that gets oiled” still stands true. If you do a search you will find that we never let up from 12/15/08 until present.
    No stone was left unturned and believe me- when it seemed as if no one was on our side and no help was forthcoming we never gave up prodding, begging, asking and annoying everyone we knew and those we never knew.
    We saturated the net, we sunk to the low of showing my poor baby in her despicable condition and I pleaded asking “what if this was your daughter?”

    If that is what it takes – then do it and never be dismayed because shamefully, women have given up far too easily at the first few closed doors- I am here to tell you – it takes TENACITY!

    Only three women showed up in court by our side yesterday and the courtroom should have been full. What message did that send? It told me that my fight and struggle was worth it and yet so many women missed the opportunity to see DV justice which to date has been so damned rare.

    Are we so used to failure that we have given up?

    I stand here to urge my sisters to never give up- never give out and never let them see us sweat! Today we have won one small step for womankind BUT- we can’t give up here- we need to move forward.

    Join Louisa and me as we ask for more victories and Justice for all women everywhere!

  18. I AM IN!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: