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Full Story – Call to Action

February 12, 2014

Just a little over two years after I filed for divorce at the end of 2006, what had been a terrible ordeal with the court system looked like it was finally coming to a close.  Even though he had worked overseas for much of our marriage, and only been ‘in-country’ for a few weeks each year, there had been multiple custody battles, accusations of stealing and despite my best efforts to prove to the judge that my husband was a dangerous person and compulsive liar, he refused to hear my testimony numerous times and called me a liar in open court more than once. It was an expensive and emotionally draining experience. Little did I know that experience was merely a warm up for the events that would later unfold.

My husband and his mistress had just had their second child together. I had a job that I loved. Miracle-of-miracles, he had started being very nice to me and the kids. Sometime around January of 2009, my soon-to-be-ex-husband started doing lots of nice little things for the kids and even for me. The dissolution of debt had put a major dent in child support, so finances were really tight.  The girls and I made the transition from our previous lifestyle to just accepting bare necessities. Suddenly, with no explanation, he started to randomly pay for the kids’ activities, paid some of our basic bills, he dropped by with school supplies, fixed broken bikes and made other small, but welcome, gestures that made our lives a little easier.

I remember the last surprise visit he made like it was yesterday. I was at work on a Sunday afternoon putting some finishing details on a mural for the large daycare where I was the Facility Manager. (Working 7 days a week wasn’t unusual since I couldn’t really do much of my work with kids in the facilities, and I needed the overtime pay.)  Jason, (almost ex), dropped by just to see how the work was progressing.  I had been there all day with the kids helping and I was ready to call it a day.  He offered to take the kids so I could finish cleaning up.  He would just meet us at our house.

It wasn’t his weekend, but since we had been getting along so well for the past six months that hadn’t mattered, so I let him take them without question. I was met at the house with beer and pizza.  He had taken the girls for ice cream.  He slipped me $100 just in case I needed it. Our final divorce hearing was in a few weeks and this time he wouldn’t try to delay it. Win-win-win!

Monday morning my boss had a big surprise for me.  She bought a new house and until further notice my job was to be her interior designer.  By Thursday I was done painting the living room, bedrooms, kitchen and I was painting the dining room. At 1:31 in the afternoon of June 4th, 2009 I got a call from Kevin Davis, an investigator for the DA in Hockley County, Texas. You can read the news story here.

What you can’t read in the news is what happened to me or my daughters… Kevin told me he was enroute to my location and asked for the address.  I was furious, furious at being blind-sided by yet another delay in the divorce proceedings.  More allegations of abuse? Maybe theft again? Financial shennaigans? What would it be this time…? I sat on the tailgate of my truck fuming and chain-smoking.

I was expecting to see a police cruiser pull up.  Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what was about to happen. A very nice pick-up pulled up.  In all honesty, I thought that some nice couple was lost and needing directions because I was working in a swanky new subdivision – but the cowboy hats and badges on their hips gave them away.  Where ever you happen to live, when the cops show up in Texas looking like something off of “Walker, Texas Ranger” big crap is about to hit a fan…

Sounded like this before it all became a blur,

“Mrs. Sanders, your husband was just arrested.”

Me: “So? And?”

“He was arrested for trying to have you killed.  We need to ask a few questions.”

(interrogation)

“Ma’am, you have to understand that we will now have to release this information to the media outlets… Please take necessary action to keep yourself and your children safe.”

AND THEN THEY JUST LEFT.

At that point, the voice in my head just went silent.  In a couple of hours, it started screaming, “NOOOOOO” and that didn’t stop for several months. Meanwhile, I called my boss and went to the daycare.  They were on full lock-down when I got there.  I called the DA’s office and he said this, “You are safe, but we need you to go to your nearest relative until the dust settles.  This will be a big story on the news, so leave your kids now where they are safe and get all your important papers and everything you all need for the immediate future.  Go now, before the reporters get to your place.”

The details from that point are interesting, and I will share if you ask, but the reason why I am sharing come down to this:

I was a fucking mess for several months – and there is no polite way to put that.  The person who I thought was my best friend and ally wanted me dead.  I was too scared to go out in public alone, even to buy smokes, or groceries.  I faced a choice: sit in mom’s basement and suck my thumb or suck it up and take care of the kids. It was no longer a “divorce” there would be no child support, no help, just me, and only me, all the time.  The trial would come after several months, and even though I was too scared to sleep, the DA assured me I was safe.

When the trial date got closer, the DA (the prosecutor) called and told me it was time for “trial-prep”.  Of course, I had been told for several months that I was “safe” even though my life had turned into an unfamiliar mix of alphabet soup agencies and red tape and I was desperately trying to get my life put into some semblance of order with the trial hanging over my head the whole time.  I really wanted to get that past me and done so I could just move on with my life.  I was fully prepared to go speak with the DA to get ready for the trial when he told me, “We can’t ensure your safety without extraordinary expense to the taxpayer, I will come to your location.”

“Ummmmm – what????” Am I safe or not… the little voice in my head screamed “NOOOOOOOOOO” louder and louder.  The DA came to me.  In the movies and on TV, no one tells you that it is the VICTIM who must authorize the plea arrangement, but that’s how it works.  Prosecutors strong-arm and bullshit  the victim into signing off on whatever deal makes the prosecutor look best.  I was promised that Jason would be given 17 years, and because it was “domestic violence” and he wanted to use a “deadly weapon” he would be required to serve half of that time (with no exceptions) before he could be eligible for parole.  Eight and a half years before he could be released seemed like a pretty good amount of tie for me to get my life together so I signed off.  I didn’t have to go through a trial, I didn’t have to testify or even stand in a courtroom and talk about my life.  The divorce was now finalized without my ever having to be in the same room as him even thought I was under armed guard during the divorce hearing… Sweet deal!

He was sentenced in April, 2010.  I was so relieved!!!! We lived in a new state, I had a decent job, we owned a house (not a great one, but still….roof, food, electricity and I had regained the ability to work) Sometime around Thanksgiving that same year I got my first notice that he was eligible to be paroled.  If you are keeping score, that’s roughly SIX MONTHS after his sentencing hearing.  I was guaranteed 8-1/2 years.  I spent three days on the phone to learn the following:

  • In order for The Court to make a Determination of Domestic Violence he would have to physically attack you.
  • In order for The Court to make a Determination of a Deadly Weapon, he would have had to be in possession of a real bomb.

The “guarantee” by the prosecutor that he made to compel me to sign off on the plea was bullshit. SOOOO, here’s where we are, get a calculator, you will need it.  (Simplified by saying the sentence was 18, not 17 years.)

  • In Texas, it is assumed that criminal sentences are 1/3 of the time “advertised” in the court papers.

(18 year sentence=6 years locked up)

  • For every single day that the offender is incarcerated, the get two days’ worth of “good time” off their sentence.

(Six years=2 years)

  • Time awaiting trial counts towards time served.

(Two years minus time served = one year in prison after sentencing)

  • The Parole process starts 6 months before Parole can be granted.

(Six months after the sentencing hearing I got my first notice to protest his parole or he would be automatically let go)

Wonder why I am going public now?  This is my fourth time having to fight the Parole board.  For six months out of the year this hangs over my head.  I have daughters who are growing boobs and learning to drive.  I do not want to face this every single year.

I am most frequently asked, ‘Do you think he will come after you?’ My answer is, ‘NO SHIT’.  That, THIS, is why I fight.  Being a good little victim and hiding no longer serves me well and gives no peace to my daughters or myself.  Six months at a time without some wannabe killer on the loose is not enough time to heal – especially when I was blind-sided by it by the system that pretended to be protecting me…

I want some peace for a while. Since the “system” wants to keep me in perpetual bondage, buried and tortured by their red tape… I would like your help in burying them in protest of what they have done to me, and to my kids. Being public about this situation helps me sleep better at night than waiting to die.  My story might save another woman, their surviving parents, or their orphaned children from being blind-sided by the supposed “criminal-justice” system… come and get me.  I firmly believe that he will find me and kill me.  I will not die without a fight.

Here is the fb event I created that gives the details that you need to send a simple email to the TDCJ in protest of Jason’s release: https://www.facebook.com/events/538841059547498/539544509477153/?ref=notif&notif_t=plan_mall_activity

 

The text of the event is this:

Dear Friends:
For the safety of my kids, and myself, I am making this public after hiding for years:
In 2009, my estranged husband was arrested for hiring a man to kill me. He was convicted of Solicitation of Murder in 2010 and given SEVENTEEN YEARS. The prosecutor assured me that he would serve at least half that time before being eligible for Parole if I agreed to the plea arrangement. SIX MONTHS later, he was eligible for release, and to keep him in prison, I had to protest his release to the Parole Board. I am asking you all to help me keep my kids safe from the threat of his release by asking the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to deny parole.
Please email here: victim.svc@tdcj.state.tx.us Your message can be as simple as, “Please do not release this person.” Or if you want details, email or send me a private message here, on fb. You must include the following information in the email: RE: Offender SANDERS, JASON, State ID# 08387205, TDCJ# 01637868
Thank you for your support. Again, message me for further details. Your messages to the Parole Board will be strictly confidential.

Thank you for reading this! I appreciate your support!

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2 Comments
  1. Peregrine John permalink

    Good freaking lord! That is entirely horrifying – in every aspect. Off to make some messages.

  2. Peregrine John permalink

    I’m still thinking about this, still freaked out and pissed off about the mind-blowing failure of the system to perform its one and only legitimate function. Hoping you’re all safe. Keep us posted out here.

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