Dear Marian

Standard

IMG_3652

Dear Marian,

Like you, I hesistate to address you on my blog, likely for different reasons that you hestitated addressing me. I’m sensing that you likely considered how inappropriate it would be for you to come to my “home” here, and say the things you did. My hesitation, though, is more about giving you more attention than what you are seeking for yourself. So, let me be clear. I am using you as an example. I am addressing you for the sole purpose of allowing my other readers to see what the aftermath of the death penalty is really about for families of victims. So,  your contribution is valuable.

For those who missed it, Marian made a comment on the blog here, related to a post I shared about the True Conviction show airing. In fact, on that particular post, I wrote specifically, about how the show was so healing for me to participate in, which it was. The very act of making me go through photographs and memories, opened some doors in my heart that I had been afraid of knocking on for some time. The way I was treated by the entire production team, including Anna Sigga Niccolazzi, was so respectful. And I guess on some level, after all this time, it just feels good to know people still care about Cindy. I don’t know if you even read the post you replied to Marian, but that makes your comment even more bizarre.

Here is Marian’s comment to me:

MARIAN VEENKER
Kathy, I am not sure if I should leave a reply here, but the case is near to my heart as I have been writing with Michael for 2 years now. I don’t know if he did the crime or not. All I know that he wholly believes in his innocence and that he has been treated very badly in the American prisons. Even Amnesty has made a report about it. He has been in solitariy confinement for over 25 years. If he was ever guilty he has had his punishment. Each person deserves forgiveness.
Of course I cannot or ever will be able to understand your pain and anger. All I know is that forgivess is the best healer. I wish you strength and courage and above all healing.
Marian

And this was my reply back to her, yesterday:

Marian, I do understand that there is a culture of people (usually women) who feel the need to write murderers in prison and feel sympathy for them. Some even marry sociopaths like Michael Apelt (one already did then divorced him as I understand). I do understand this phenomenon and like you cannot understand my pain, I certainly cannot understand your motivation for this attempt to save a murderer. Yet I would not ever take it upon myself to attempt to “school” you on how you, a stranger, chooses to live their life.

Michael Apelt, wearing the same European -made, size 15 Reebok tennis shoe (you do know he’s 6 foot 7 , so has an unusually large foot), stood on my sister’s face while she was still alive, leaving his foot print behind as a bruise. I guess you might think there would be another man, who purchased a unique European Reebok tennis shoe with this exact same print, who would have had a motive to kill her and lie like Michael did about “ever wearing tennis shoes because they made his feet stink”, who committed this murder. Guess that didn’t work out too well, when a photograph was discovered still in my sister’s camera, of him posing wearing those exact European made Reebok tennis shoes, of the same large size. Maybe you saw this photo on True Conviction. It was real. The jury who convicted him saw it blown up as poster sized in the courtroom. Of course he disposed of the bloody shoes, as he did his clothing, according to his other accomplice Anke Dorn.

Or a man who commandeered the car Michael was known to be driving out there in the desert that night, destroy the tires, then have those destroyed tires recovered which matched the tire tracks at the scene. I could go on and on but perhaps you would like to purchase and read the book I’m writing on the case when it comes out.

In the meantime, maybe you’d like to contact his appellate lawyers who have already admitted he committed the murder (and conspiracy) yet claim he was “mentally retarded” at the time.
Or you could choose to believe this con artist, because it seems you get something out of it.
But surely, we can both agree, that I’m not going to join you in your confusion. Keep reading, hopefully, you will learn something.

Now, this morning, I realized I have a few more things to say.

Marian, you are not the first person to barge in to my life with this kind of inappropriate and disrespectful intrusion. Several years ago, during the lengthy, expensive (ten million plus AMERICAN TAX PAYER dollars) appeal hearing to determine whether your boyfriend is mentally retarded or not, I got a knock on my door in early December. It was unusually cold for an Arizona day, so I looked at the shivering, friendly faced female standing on my doorstep holding an official looking lawyerly business card, asking about our case and invited her in. Surely, she had shown up on my doorstep uninvited and unannounced (just like you did Marian), with some kind of need to talk to me about my involvement in our case, from our side.

Shortly after this woman took a seat in my living room–my living room strewn with boxes of Christmas decorations I had just pulled out in my yearly agonizing set of decisions of whether to decorate for Christmas or not (you do remember Michael Apelt slaughtered my sister in the desert two days before Christmas, I’m sure)–I realized something was amiss. She was talking to me about sympathy for this man who had conned and destroyed the most important person in my life. Sympathy. Right around the anniversary of her murder. Kind of like you Marian. But you decided to confront me like that during another vulnerable time–right at the time the show aired displaying my grief for the world to see. Even to people like you, all the way across the globe. You saw my agony and grief and chose that to be your moment to strike, didn’t you? Just like that woman who showed up in my home. Your strategic timing, like hers, speaks volumes.

Once I figured out her motive–to try and glean my assistance for this ridiculous mental retardation hearing, I kicked her out of my home. Not before she was reduced to tears though. Maybe she had a brief moment of clarity when she saw a true victim.

Now Marian, unlike you, she was not questioning his guilt. She realized that he did commit the murder. That he did take my sister Cindy out to the desert that cold, dark night with promises of a new home “surprise” he was showing her. Instead, his brother laid in wait with a knife. That woman knew he did it, unlike you. But she thought he might be “mentally retarded”, so should be given leniency.

Let me ask you this. You think Michael Apelt has been treated poorly in our system. What do you think of the millions of dollars in legal assistance he has received at American taxpayer expense? Let me say it again: MILLIONS OF AMERICAN DOLLARS to defend him. I’m not talking about housing and food and medical care — I’m strictly talking about defense. Do you find that unfair?

Now, let me do a small amount of education for you about the man you seem so interested in believing, in terms of his “belief” in his own innocence.

Maybe you’d like to do some more digging in to his past and his lengthy rap sheet from Germany. The one that includes burglary, theft, insurance fraud, and prostitution. There is more but you get the drift. Let’s not forget, he was 25 when he slaughtered my sister in the desert, so his German crimes were committed from his teens to his early 20’s.

Do you know that, oh, about 7 other women came forward who he was conning and stealing from at the same time he married and was plotting to murder my sister? He stole money and checks from their purses and in one scheme, convinced one of them that he was dead so his brother could get money from her for his funeral. Yeah, he even sent a telegram to his brother, from the grave. I think they got a couple thousand from that lady. Then there were the Rolex dealers, all of the luxury car dealers in Phoenix and a custom home builder who came to court telling tales of these tall German brothers who had convinced them they were anything from professional athletes to pilots. Everyone believed them, they were that good. They were pre-spending the life insurance on Cindy, while she was alive and making the money they were stealing.

Then, finally, you might be interested in the copycat murder plot Michael Apelt cooked up in the jail before he was convicted. Yeah, that other inmate brought notes Michael had made, including maps, detailing how he should murder his own wife and make it look identical to how he had killed my sister, so it could throw off the trial thinking there was a copycat serial killer out there. I’ve seen those notes he wrote. He wanted another woman to be viciously taken from her loved ones to help free him–he promised his brother in another note I’ve seen that they would be out of jail soon because of his plot. He still thought he would be receiving that $400K of life insurance from Cindy and would pay this man from that.

Those are just a very few details that will be covered in the book I”m writing. You see, unlike you, I’ve read every single word about our case from police reports (including old ones from Germany), interviews (including with your boyfriend), testimony (including Michael’s which I sat through) and autopsy reports. I have all of the information which I will be sharing, including my sister’s own diary so you can understand better how she was conned by this man you so want to champion.

So, thank you for allowing me to educate people further on the aftermath of the death penalty for families. There are people, like you, laying in wait to torture us with your own twisted agendas, even nearly 30 years after the fact. 

I will end with a few pictures of my sister for you. The one your penpal stepped on the face of while his brother cut her throat. This is who she was in life. She was my everything, and the only victim here. Don’t get it twisted.

denied

Standard

Just got word from my Victim Advocate that Rudi Apelt was denied parole for his Life WITH parole commutated sentence for the murder of my sister.

You can read about it, along with my statement that she read to the parole board here.

rudi

I was heartened but not surprised that no one was there at the hearing to support him. He was surrounded for years by death penalty opponents fawning all over him, as they exploited him, and the system, in their attempts to abolish the death penalty one murderer at a time. I literally predicted in my last victim impact statement that they would drop him like a hot potato once they accomplished their goal of getting him released from death row and it appears I was right. Good.

He had an interpreter who slowed the whole hearing down by having to stop every sentence and interpret for Rudi who was on a screen and not in attendance in person. Knowing this, I may go next year and read my statement myself.

I guess he sat behind that screen, in the prison or wherever, claiming he knew nothing about the crime. Don’t think that approach impressed the parole board.

He will never get out of prison but that doesn’t mean we can get too relaxed about it. That, I’ve learned the hard way.

Bye Felicia, til next year.

 

Parole

Standard

IMG_3661

my beautiful sister, Cindy

I received word from one of my Victim Advocates yesterday that a parole hearing is to be held next Tuesday for Rudi Apelt. Rudi is the brother of the man Cindy married who assisted him with her murder for life insurance. He is actually the person who wielded the knife in the desert on the night of December 23, 1988, stabbing her multiple times and slashing her throat. This was proven in court by his own expert Vincent DiMaio. You can read about that Perry Mason moment here.

Rudi was sentenced to death in 1990 for the first-degree murder, then a life WITH parole sentence for the conspiracy. Nineteen years later, his death sentence was commuted because one Judge , Silvia Arellano, decided to release him from Death Row under a mental retardation claim. Once the Federal Supreme Court ruled that we can’t execute the mentally retarded (a ruling I agree with), suddenly both of these scheming conmen became “mentally retarded” overnight according to their attorneys, and those championing against the death penalty, one murderer at a time.

Rudi’s sentence was commuted to life WITH parole which, thankfully, Arellano decided to run consecutively to the conspiracy Life WITH parole sentence vs the concurrent option they argued for.  Arellano, the biased Judge, had also ruled that nothing, not one thing, in their lives after the age of 18 could be considered in her decision–read: THE CRIMES FOR WHICH THEY WERE CONVICTED COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION FOR SENTENCE FOR THE CRIMES THEY COMMITTED.  It was a terrifying time as this monster could have gone from Death Row to up for parole in five short years after that commutation.

Yes, it seems like a moot point or a formality that he should be given these yearly parole hearings for the first sentence he is serving, as he’s eight years into the second 25 to Life sentence. He could be granted parole on the first one and still turn right around to his cell to continue the second one. BUT, I’ve become a bit educated on how prisoners become victims over the years, and how attorneys make big bucks championing murderers and I don’t trust any of it. So, yes, I wrote a letter to the parole board and I guess I will each year, to make sure no one ever considers releasing him from prison or giving him any leniency.

I suspect he will continue, along with his disgusting champions, to try and play the “mentally retarded” card and since I’ve been informed it’s a fairly new parole board who may not know the case, I decided to do a bit of educating on exactly who Rudi Apelt is.

Here is a copy of my letter that my advocate will be reading into the record next Tuesday.  I won’t be in AZ at that time and frankly, I never want to be in the same room with either of those sociopaths ever again so her reading my words to their faces is just fine with me.

the face of a monster

Here it is (apologies for it being dense to read–Wordpress is not letting me put paragraphs on this when I edited it):

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

perspective

Standard

Greetings from beautiful Sedona!  It’s so incredible waking up here with long expanses of days ahead of me, cool breezes and quiet.  I never for one minute forget how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be here like this.

sedona-sunrise

Today my big goals are:  go for a hike by Cathedral rock, make homemade sauce with the ingredients I brought up with me, finish installing the surround sound stereo I brought up, finish the laundry I’ve started and continue tweaking the story I’m entering in a writing contest.  It has to be submitted by next Saturday so I hope to have it finished today.  The problem is I write so fast and furious and pay no nevermind usually to punctuation and other writerly imperatives that I’m not sure how to polish it up.  I may need to find an editor–if anyone out there is game to take a look at my completed story, please write to me!

Thank you!

I’ve also been popping in at Websleuths occasionally lately to see what people are saying about the Arias case which, of no surprise to me, has been delayed again.  I think it will be lucky to start anytime this year.  And when I say start, I mean get it over with.  Although I surely know the ambivalence that goes with a trial like this finally being over (of course with the Death penalty that never really happens should she receive that sentence).  That’s when the real hard part starts:  when the trial ends.  That’s when the family will need the most support and get the least.  I’m very aware of that cliff for the Alexanders and where my role may be most important for them.

travis_alexander

I wrote something about the legal system and how far it’s gone in protecting/supporting our worst of the worst now and the heinous way it’s turned toward villifying true victims.  I remember when I was testifying and one of Cindy’s killers attorneys tried to insinuate some preposterous theory about her being involved in a drug cartel or some such nonsense.  Or maybe it’s the way they tried to describe her as a slut therefore deserving to be viciously slaughtered in the desert for money.  It was very very subtle in comparison to what we’ve seen with Travis Alexander’s reputation also slaughtered in the courtroom, but it was enough.  Enough for me to flash a look at that defense attorney like “oh you will not even go there with me” and he backed off.  I think just the question itself disgusted the jury.  But times were different then.  Now it’s become commonplace to attack the reputation of victims in court fabricated out of thin air by the mind of a sociopath.  Entire defenses are spun on these about face assaults to the innocent. “Experts” participate in these lies and are well paid.  And we, as a society, seem to think this is ok.

justicetravisfam

Anyway, I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote on Websleuths this morning so I can be done with this line of thinking and get in to something that would actually match the memories that are true of my sister and Travis (as I understand him to have been)–like cooking,hiking, writing a funny story.

Fotorcindymebabies

Sometimes you also just have to tell the truth about things and put it out there, so here it is:

I think this illustrates what is so incredibly beyond frustrating and maddening about how our justice system has (d)evolved when it comes to murderers like Arias. The system promotes them continuing to abuse and debase their victims in public, falsifying completely fictional stories that villify their victims out of thin air while staining their memory to anyone who even hears it even if they don’t believe it. This has been accepted as a completely commonplace line of defense now with no one setting boundaries on it’s preposterousness.

“Expert” witnesses come out of the woodwork to support these fictional stories and testify to their “veracity” although their only source is the killer themself. Entire tales are spun creating the completely innocent victim as an unrecognizable character in their own life. Meetings are held to strategize how to spin the Truth in to something that turns the entire sordid event on it’s ear pointing to the vicious killer as “victim”. Intelligent, highly paid, educated professionals conspire in this dark dance.

And the legal system supports and condones it. All the way up to the day the vicious killer likely dies in prison of natural causes as these fights continue for decades selling fiction as fact, tarnishing someone’s innocent child/sibling/friend/parent who never had a chance to fully live their life; all in the name of winning.

Or in some cases, such as Alyce La Violette, in the name of money. Thank God the scales of Karma didn’t support her in that endeavor. But she has taken her tale of victimhood, erasing the man who’s breath was taken in his own home, on to herself now. In the name of murderer Jodi Arias.

It’s a level of insanity I feel sure our forefathers never anticipated. I don’t think they knew this level of sophisticated evil back in those simpler times either. Nature or nurture we have a new breed of venom that walks the Earth now. And we protect them like precious jewels.

ladyjustice

john

Standard

Image

I couldn’t go one more post in this blog without introducing you to my dear sweet brother John.  He of course is the third “innocent” in our family.

When I was trying to think of a name for the blog, I kept going back to the picture I have posted of Cindy and I as toddlers.  She took this photo on I believe my 25th birthday and had it blown up to 8 X 10 and gave it to me framed, signed on the back. She used to laugh at this photo all the time and called it “The Innocents”.  Our vibe together was primarily laughing and energetic so this photo tells a very different sentiment.  I believe it was taken right around the time our mother was getting diagnosed with cancer.  I think you see that all over us in this photo although Cindy and I never discussed that. We just thought it was a funny photo.

I turned to a wordsmith friend of mine to help me figure out a name for the blog and shared about this photo with him and he replied “How about Two Innocents which also sounds like a cheer “To Innocence!”” I immediately got chills and a  lump in my throat and that was that.

Of course though, we can’t move forward without including our dear brother who was an infant at the time of this photo.  He was just 3 when we lost our mother.

John was always unique.  He was slow to walk and talk and used to speak we said in “Lebanese” as he had his own made up language before he actually used words.  He describes himself as with “learning disabilities” and had some time in remedial classes growing up.  We loved him all the same but to tell the absolute truth, I was so deeply and inpenetrably bonded with my sister that I spent much of my childhood thinking he was someone we had to accomodate.  It’s hard to admit that now but it’s the truth.  Cindy was much more patient and loving toward John than I ever was.  She was a surrogate mother to both of us  from ages 3 and 5 and I’m sure I just didn’t want to share her.

Even though John had some awkwardness socially and learning wise, he grew up to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing having followed Cindy to the University where she got her Master’s degree.  I lived in Arizona at the time finishing my Bachelor’s in Nursing.

John also followed Cindy to Minneapolis after college when she got a great job there heading up a Wellness program at a large corporation and he worked various jobs, always close to Cindy. They worked out together, dined together. She always provided a place of “home” for my brother.  I can say I never offered that to him through his life until just the last year.

John was always vulnerable though.  A sensitive and really fragile person.  But with the sweetest, purest heart and soul you could ever meet.  He has had to navigate a world of awkwardness and bullying and not quite fitting in his whole life.  But he has managed to maintain a fighting spirit, a distinct optimism, an appreciation for every small thing in his life, a long term memory I’ve never seen in anyone else and just a sweetness you rarely see in an adult.  I’ve often referred to him like “Forest Gump” in that innocence kind of way.  He was truly the most innocent of us all.

As utterly devastating Cindy’s murder was on all of our family, especially me, I think it hurt John the worst.  He was teetering on the edge of mental illness for some time unbeknownst to all of us.  I remember Cindy once telling me she’d gone to the manager at the gym where they worked out to complain that other men were making fun of him in the locker room.  Now of course I know that was his paranoia peeking through.  Cindy went to her grave never knowing John would “break” in to paranoid schizophrenia.  Her death took him right over that edge.  It was the worst casualty in our family I’m certain.

John got his nickname “Alfonse” one evening while we were visiting our Grandma on summer break.  Cindy and I, teenagers, had prepared some kind of Italian meal for all of us and she decided, in one of her “let’s make everything in to a game” moments, that we would turn my Grandma’s tiny condo in to a fine dining restaurant.  We tagged John our waiter for the evening, put a little towel over his arm and decided his name was “Alfonse” and that he would serve us all evening.  We all had a blast with it, as we always did, and the nickname Alfonse was born.  In case you’ve ever wondered, my nickname “katiecoolady’ was what my sister called me for years.  But she spelled it, for some reason “KT Coolady”.  When I went online, I resurrected that name as poignant as it was.  I wanted to be that again.

John didn’t come to the trials for Cindy’s murder except for one day.  It was just this past week that I learned that on that ONE day, he was exposed to one crime scene photo of my sister.  My father didn’t attend that day knowing that crime scene photos would be shown by the medical examiner.  I chose to work that day as we were warned this was not a good day to attend.  Inexplicably, our stepmother, decided to stay in there with John and moved themselves to the back row because she wanted to hear what happened in court that day.  She generally was more detached in things like this so could handle them.  I was both livid and devastated to hear that John had seen a glimpse of that photo from the back row.  It’s an image you can’t bleach from your brain.  I once ran in to a similar photo online in some German publication as someone had told me I was on the cover of it claiming “Sister wants them to live!”.  In looking at that online I saw a very very fast glimpse of that photo and I started screaming uncontrollably.  It just breaks my heart knowing my Alfonse EVER saw a photo like that.

Especially knowing what came later.  His poor mind just broke.  He fell in to deep psychosis off and on for years.  Full blown paranoid schizophrenia rose it’s ugly head in to a mind that was already filled with cracks, held together with fragile mortar by the love and support he got from our oldest sister.  When she was taken, it all just dissolved. He spent years and years in and out of psychiatric hospitals and programs and it has just been heartbreaking, frustrating, devastating on our family.

There is a silver lining to this story and an update as Alfonse is living two minutes away from me now and doing very very well and is the biggest light of MY life these days.  I will write and fill in the blanks of how we got from Point Nowhere to this amazing miracle life we are living in right now.  But, for now, this is getting long and I’m crying too hard and it’s just not the moment for it.  There is fallout from a murder.  As positive as I am and as much as I do my best to find meaning and purpose in life, the murder of my sister broke my dear brother in half, plain and simple. And I’m not gonna white wash it.  And that went on for years and years.

But love and faith and miracles have brought him back. And brought us back together.

I’ve thought recently that  when I’m on my death bed and reflecting on the most important things I ever did in this life, throwing my brother a life raft this last year and pulling him on to my boat will be so far up there, nothing else will ever compare.