BettyJean Downing –Kling
For Immediate Release:
We need to fill this courtroom, can Louisa count on your physical support Friday?
Friday March 23
Hackensack, NJ Courthouse
10 main Street Room 412 1:30 PM
Honorable Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi
10 Main Street
Case# 09-06-1226-I, New Jersey vs. George Hartwig Sentencing scheduled for February 24, 2012
Dear Judge DeAvila-Silebi,
I am the mother of Denise Richardson and Louisa Richardson- Rodas. I am making this statement to you on their behalf because they cannot. Denise died in the spring of 2009 and Louisa is no longer able to speak.
George Hartwig was married to my daughter Denise; they were together for 23 years. The marriage was marred by many acts of domestic violence on his part towards her. He was cruel and vicious to her during the relationship and marriage but for reasons a mother will never know, she kept taking him back.
In June of 2007, Denise was at her home in Lodi. She was suffering and nearing the end of a three year battle with ovarian cancer. She was awakened to sharp blows to her head and body because Gorge Hartwig was trying to kill her. She begged for her life and she was finally able to convince him that if he stopped beating her she would give to him what he wanted the most, her pain medication.
On December 17, 2008 George Hartwig was scheduled to go to court for the June 07 attack on Denise. On December 15, 2008 he entered 540 North Main Street, Lodi where I was caring for Denise. Denise was in the final stages of Ovarian Cancer and she weighed only 80 Lbs. George began to drag her around the living room and only stopped when I intervened in order to defray his attention away from her. He kept holding up the bloody pillow from the last time he had beaten Denise. He finally left but not before threatening to kill me with a gun.
George returned hours later with a shotgun. Denise was sleeping and Louisa was at the very far end of the couch working on her computer. She never heard him enter, when Louisa spotted him hovering over Denise holding a shotgun, she immediately texted her son Marc for help.
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 took nor where her sister was at the time. George now began pointing the gun at her and demanding her pain pills.
Louisa had used the phone to call for help. George saw her and shot her in the face with his shotgun. My son and grandson arrived and George tried to shoot my son Tommy but the gun jammed. Marc then subdued him and the police came.
Louisa had suffered a shot to the face and head leaving her nearly dead.
George was lucid enough to tell the officers exactly what happened that day and night – he said that he thought Louisa was me and that I had made him very angry and he decided to come over and kill me.
Denise died from her cancer on March 7, 2009. She never saw her sister again and she was forced to go to her death feeling responsible for marrying the guy who shot her sister.
The court appearance scheduled for December 17, 2008 never happened. George was never required to answer for the beating he gave to Denise back in June of 2007.
Louisa suffered severe traumatic brain injury. She currently resides at a Sate run hospital known as the Bergen Regional Medical Center (formerly Bergen Pines). She requires 24 hour care but receives only a tiny fraction of the care she needs. So much of her care depends on me. Louisa is a young woman who deserves to be in a happy and caring atmosphere attended to by care takers and by doctors who actually examine her and prescribe with expectations of quality of life.
This long term care facility hospital is far from that. Louisa’s injuries rendered her physically helpless and mentally incompetent but not oblivious or comatose. During this time she has been subjected to continuous acts of negligent medical treatment, physical abuse and personal neglect at the hands of management, nursing and support staff. Specifically, Louisa suffered from severe rashes, infections and other ailments the facility completely failed to reasonably treat or attend at all. On numerous occasions BMC completely neglected Louisa in that she was forced to lie in her own feces for extended lengths of time without proper nursing assistance. Louisa has often exhibited signs of bruising and various other traumas to her body, face and hands without explanation. Louisa is denied daily ear, eye, nose and mouth care. Finally, Louisa has been denied appropriate medical attention when she becomes ill and needs special care she also has been denied physical, occupational and speech therapy. Instead she is merely warehoused as if she were an unfeeling vegetable. Louisa is well aware of these wretched conditions and her untenable situation and feels pain and discomfort and she is able to clearly express this hurt and distress.
For all intents and purposes, her life has been taken away from her. Louisa remains incapacitated for life which should be another 40 years. While there may ultimately be a light at the end of George Hartwig’s tunnel, there is none for my daughter and her family. We will sleep with one eye open at best, knowing that she needs constant care and attention. I worry constantly over the fact that the day will come when I cannot care for her. And then, what will we do?
This man, for no good reason bullied and battered two innocent young women and if he had his way, he would have killed my son and me. There can never be justice for my daughters and my family; nevertheless, I ask Your Honor to do the best that the law permits in punishing this man for his evil acts.
I further ask to court to order him to pay restitution to my daughter Louisa for the extensive medical care she has incurred and will need in the future. I have been told that George Hartwig settled a civil lawsuit and received a substantial amount of money. I request that the Court make inquiry into his assets and any disposition he made of them over the period of time since he attacked my daughters over three years ago.
“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, we 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.
I am attaching photos of my daughters. They are self-explanatory and substantiate and support the information I report to you herein.
I thank you for Louisa, and her sons Marc and Josh Richardson and our family for the opportunity to be heard in this matter,
Betty Jean Downing- Kling
Filed under: Domestic Violence, Indifference toward Women, Louisa's Law, Misogyny/Sexism, The Majority United, Violence, Violence against women | Tagged: Bettyjean Kling, Denise Richardson, George Hartwig, Louisa Richardson Rodas, Louisa's Law, The Majority United | 5 Comments »