Tag Archive | fight

Revealed Chapter 10: “May You Reach and Find God Before God Reaches and Finds You”

In October of 2005, I received an unsolicited phone call from a private investigator who said he wanted to talk to me about “something I would be interested in.” 

 *Please keep in mind, that in 1998 I married my soul mate, became a Christian and we were living a  fantastic life together, finally.   And in this chapter, I need to go a little ahead to go backwards.  You’ll see what I mean as you read*

 So, when I received this unusual phone call, at first I chalked it up to being a prank, maybe.  At any rate, I was not truly interested in meeting with this mystery investigator, and at first I put him off.  However, he continued to call. When I told my husband, Al, about it, we both decided we would go ahead with this “meeting”, but that Al would have to be present.  So we made the arrangements, and the PI would come to our home and talk to both of us.

 When he showed up, after exchanging pleasantries and introductions, we sat down in our family room and I curiously waited what it was he had to say.  He began by asking me if I knew of a man by the name of Roy Brown.  I thought for a few seconds, then answered “no”.  He went on to explain that Roy Brown was doing time in Elmira State Correctional for a murder that he did not commit.  I immediately wondered what on earth this could possibly have to do with me.  The investigator further continued to explain the circumstances and my involvement in Roy Brown’s attempt at exoneration.  I think, when his story began to sink in, that I went into shock for a few seconds…. and I began to cry.

 This story is quite complicated, but the gist of it is:  in 1991, my common-law sister-in-law, Sabina Kulakowski, was murdered at the BB family farm in Aurelius, NY.  This woman was BB’s brother’s common-law wife… got that?  For all intents and purposes, she was my sister-in-law.  The murder was particularly gruesome and received huge media attention at the time, and they arrested and brought to trial this Roy Brown for the murder.  He was convicted and sent to prison.  However, Mr. Brown has consistently maintained his innocence (don’t they all?) throughout his 12 years behind bars, and had been desperately trying to prove his innocence all this time ~ per the private investigator ~ without success.  Well, Mr. Brown convinced the infamous “Innocence Project” to help him, and that’s when they began in earnest to try to track me down and bring me into the fray.  Mr. Brown, and now with the help of attorneys from the Innocence Project, had come across evidence that seemed to point the finger at BB as the potential murderer, and not Roy Brown. The timeline from 1991 when the murder was committed, puts BB and me domestically “together” at the time.

This investigation would put me in the center of an increasingly urgent appeal.  Mr. Brown was critically ill and in danger of dying due to liver problems and eventually failure.  He needed to be exonerated, if possible, in order to get out of prison and have the lifesaving liver transplant needed to survive. If he has unsuccessful, he would die in prison, innocent or guilty.  An additional complication was the fact that BB had committed suicide on December 29, 2003.  So, without the primary suspect available to be questioned, the Innocence Project was literally piecing a puzzle together, that included DNA testing that would prove or disprove the murderer.

 Over the course of the next year or so, my family and I would receive requests for interviews from attorneys, sheriffs, district attorneys, television and magazines as the saga wore on and we would eventually find out if BB was, indeed, a murderer.

 “Sabina had been beaten, bitten, stabbed and strangled.”

 On May 23, 1991, BB and I were in the midst of our own battle, yet again.  It was a particularly brutal fight that started in the afternoon and continued on through the evening.  The kids, in their infinite wisdom, had known early on to keep to themselves upstairs until it was over.  I don’t remember exactly what started it this time, but know that it was particularly heated and became physical.  I was throwing BB out of the house for a change, rather than me taking the kids and leaving, and he wasn’t going without a fight, and every dime of cash that I had in my purse.  He had taken all of his things (mostly just clothing, but also a fire department call monitor) and had packed everything into his car, and it looked like he would be voluntarily leaving.  When he returned to the house for whatever reason, one last time, he decided that he would ransack my purse and take whatever funds I would hold inside for himself.  His audacity never ceased to amaze and infuriate me, so the argument and then the physical fight ensued.  Somehow we ended up in the kitchen, each pulling at my purse with all our might trying to take it from the other.  When I saw that I may lose that battle, in an instant I grabbed for the nearest weapon I could find that might give me an upper hand against this 6’4″ aggressor.  I found myself swiping at him with a large butcher’s knife that I had pulled from the counter.  Fortunately or not, I missed the connection and he (after he got over the surprise) decided to quickly take his leave without my purse contents.  He ran out of the house and took off around 8 pm.  I didn’t care if I ever heard from him again!

A photo I took of BB in the mid-90’s. This was used in most of the media coverage.

“When it comes to DNA testing, there’s no mistakes. DNA is GOD’s creation and GOD makes no mistakes.”  Roy Brown

In helping Mr. Brown find the truth about the real killer of Sabina Kulakowski, my daughter (and BB’s) Katie, was asked if she would submit a sample of her DNA to be compared with the tee shirt evidence found near the crime scene.  By this time, of course, Katie and I were totally on board to help in any way get to the bottom of this issue.  BB was already gone, having committed suicide, so there was no reason not to cooperate and help clear a potentially innocent man after he’d already spent 15 years wrongfully imprisoned.  By now, we had been pretty involved in the exoneration portion of the case.  I had been questioned extensively over the course of two full days by the Cayuga County Sheriff’s department.  Evidently, for some reason, they were of the opinion that I “knew something” and wasn’t telling.  I was coached for hours and pressed to tell the truth because “it was okay now”, and they wouldn’t hold anything against me if I just told the truth.  Thing is, I had nothing to tell.  I remembered that night pretty well, and, if what they were saying was true, I would’ve been the first person to see BB after he would’ve committed the gruesome, horrific murder just a few miles from our home.  I remember seeing him, and there were no telltale signs of anything amiss.  He was calm, even after the horrendous fight we’d had earlier in the evening.  I don’t recall anything unusual about his clothing… there was no blood, he wasn’t disheveled.  Based on what I recall that I saw that night, I wouldn’t have thought he could’ve committed a murder.  Yet, the DNA definitely proved otherwise.  But, until 2005, I didn’t have a clue that anything was out of the ordinary.  Which meant, my family and I continued to live with a murderer from 1991 to 1998 ~ 7 years. 

Me and my daughter, Katie in 2005 (courtesy of the NY Times). Katie would be instrumental in helping in the exoneration by voluntarily submitting to DNA testing that would later prove her father was a murderer.

At the end of this post, I’m going to include several links that you can follow to learn more about the specifics of the case, and all the various media that covered it.  There was a “local” movie made about the circumstances called “Blanchard Road”, by Alex Dunbar and it was shown at a local theater in Syracuse upon Roy Brown’s release.  I managed to get a copy.  It was also highlighted on an episode of “On the Case” with Paula Zahn.  You can Google any of these things and find even more information.

Admittedly, I am, to this day, torn about this episode of my life.  I’m thankful Mr. Brown was eventually exonerated, freed, received his liver transplant in time, and received a multi-million dollar settlement from New York State.  However, I don’t know if I’m just plain in denial, or BB did such a good job of covering it up (which is doubtful), but there still remains some doubt in my mind that he committed this murder.  Just a hint.  He was not that smart or had enough foresight to be able to hide all remnants of such a vicious murder from the first person to see him shortly after it occurred.  Trust me.  And yet, there were no signs.  But besides the DNA proof that was unearthed, there did remain a few personal indications to me (specifically) that could further confirm BB’s guilt:  the victim was beaten, stabbed, choked and bitten.  Three of those four methods I had known BB well enough that it could be considered his MOA (method of operation), as I had been his victim many, many times over the previous years.

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/forensics/ff311_roy_brown/1_index.html

http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Roy_Brown.php

http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=75263

http://truthinjustice.org/roy-brown.htm

http://www.innocenceproject.org/docs/121406_Roy_Brown_Motion.pdf

http://www.innocenceproject.org/docs/122403_Roy_Brown_Letter.pdf

http://www.oocities.org/three_strikes_legal/falsely_accused.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/21/nyregion/21brown.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

**Note ~ the name of this chapter came from the letter that Roy Brown wrote to BB right before BB committed suicide in 2003.  See the “Roy Brown letter.pdf” link above to read what he wrote.**

**Chapter 9 is currently stalled but forthcoming in a day or two.**

Advertisements

Revealed Chapter 7: Into the Lion’s Den ~

The first few years with my new, live-in “beau” were common.  In March of 1985 I gave birth to his son, and we began to move around (relocate) quite a bit.  BB was a farm hand in rural Cayuga County.  Before I met him, and for several months after we first began living together, he worked on his family’s dairy farm.  For whatever reason, he decided he no longer wanted to stay on the family farm, but was hoping to “advance” his career by changing jobs to a different farm in the area.  Often dairy farm jobs come complete with housing for the farm hand and family.  Thus, we began to move as he would take a job, decide he didn’t like it or it didn’t pay enough, and get another job with housing… dragging us from place to place in the process.  The children and I were still receiving public assistance in Cayuga County, but BB’s paycheck was barely $150-$175/weekly, plus the “housing” (which was usually bleak at best, but included utilities, typically).

 As what often happens when two people co-habit together without even knowing each other, it didn’t take long for our true colors to begin to show.  I learned quickly that I had chosen to be saddled with another “child” rather than an equal adult to help me carry the family responsibilities.  And I think he learned that I had a quick temper and low tolerance for stupidity.  I grew tired of moving around and uprooting the family and changing schools simply because he could not get along with his employers time and time again.  Often I would have to intervene between him and his supervisor or the farm owner just to try to keep him employed and us in one place for more than a few months.  This would be a regular pattern throughout the upcoming decade. 

It didn’t take long for the arguments to begin in earnest.  I learned early on that this was a person who literally believed everything he said and did was right.  Needless to say that verbally fighting with such a nut case is beyond frustration.  And, as the months and years went by, I discovered that it was not simply just a tactic he used to try to “right fight”, he actually believed whatever he said was true and correct.  This would be his delusion right to the end.

 Add to that the fact that BB was a drinker.  He came by it honestly enough… all the “men-folk” in his family consumed mass quantities of beer at the local watering hole, where BB was literally raised.  I guess that’s pretty much when and where the violence began between us.  He was not a “happy” drinker, but was belligerent.  It began with just a push here and a shove there, then a punch in the arm and a kick under the covers in bed at night.  Admittedly, I fought back…. though my 5’6” against his 6’4” made it pretty futile.  I was not one to take things lying down, despite the fact that often I had no choice.  On more than many occasions when BB wanted his way in bed and I refused, I found myself being kicked and shoved onto the floor and screamed at and ordered out.  When he got tired of me picking myself up off the floor and sleeping on the sofa (because I wouldn’t let him have his way), he decided to forgo the kicking and shoving and just not take “no” for an answer.  I contemplated over and over about having him arrested for rape, but I had no income ~ well not enough to support my growing family on my own.  So I remained quiet… for now.  I’d grit my teeth and wait the few moments it would take for him to finally leave me alone, then I’d cry from frustration.  I would eventually be quoted giving a description of BB to sheriff’s detectives as a sexual addict.  That was neither a lie nor an understatement.

 In late 1986 I would announce that we would be adding one more to our family, as I was pregnant again.  We were still bouncing around to various farm jobs, but at the time we were living on a really nice farm in Skaneateles, NY.   Despite our differences, I always thought we could work things out and maybe, eventually, find a way to exist together.  I wasn’t so much a realist back then.  Well, not until I went for a prenatal checkup and found out that I was walking around with a venereal disease that went undetected!  I think I was in shock at my OB/GYN’s office.  Never ever had I had such news!  I took great time and care to question my doctor about everything to do with it:  how it’s transmitted, symptoms, treatment.  I wanted to know everything.  I was informed that I would’ve had to have gotten it from my partner (BB), that there would be no other way possible.  Well, I guess that would mean that he must’ve gotten it elsewhere… which would mean I was not the only “girl in town” for him.  Not such a big surprise.  When I got home and confronted him, he denied, denied, denied.  Like if he said it enough times, I would believe it like he does.  When a major argument ensued, he left the residence and didn’t return home until the next day after work.  Hmmmm.  To keep peace, I let it slide for the time being, but did not forget nor forgive.

 Katie was born in May 1987, and in August 1988 I finally landed my first job… well, other than when I was in high school.  This was to be my first real job:  an intake clerk for a weatherization program for a non-profit agency in Auburn, NY.  I was excited.  We managed to move into some low income housing in Auburn that wasn’t far from my work, and they had programs for both preschoolers Brian and Katie to attend, while Kristen and Karalyn went to elementary school.

 I don’t know if it was the fact that I was gainfully employed that made me feel better about myself, but things began to change for me, and hence my family ~ and not necessarily for the better.  It was common knowledge to me and anyone who knew him the BB was not with me exclusively (to put it kindly).  He decided to revert back to his old ways of “open marriage”, even though he and I were not married ~ he still wasn’t divorced from his first wife.  In a way, it was relief to me, since he left me alone more often, and I soon began to explore my own other interests.  BB decided to leave the farm hand life, and he took a job as a cab driver in the city of Auburn.  He worked nights and slept days, which seemed to suit us well.  I was making new friends, who soon became drinking buddies as we made our rounds to various bars on Friday and Saturday nights.  Kristen would’ve been about 12 years old then, and I had no qualms about leaving the other 3 smaller children in her care while they were in bed so I could pursue my own carefree fun.  I was coming into my own “all about me” phase that would last decades before I would wake up and see the light.  Right now, I was of the opinion that I deserved to have a good time, whenever/wherever I wanted to.  After all, I worked hard, I took care of my kids and I tolerated an idiot ~ who would deny me a little fun?  It would be a little more time before I would come to realize that “fun” had all of its own costs.

 ~ To be Continued in Chapter 8…