Monday, October 27, 2014

System of Insanity

My mind is still reeling from last Friday's court appearance. The blatant disregard for victims and their families by the people who are paid to be victim advocates and our elected official is simply insane. I can not wrap my mind around any of this!

I have been writing about all of this "JUSTICE" insanity for many years. I am sure I will be writing about it for many more to come.

Let me give a quick run down of last Fridays encounter at our second home...Solano County Courts.
The hearing was scheduled for 1:30PM in Dept. 15 room 202. We were there at 1:20PM sitting outside the courtroom waiting for the doors to be unlocked. It seemed strange that none of our other family members or friends were there waiting with us.

When the bailiff finally opened the doors at 1:30PM he mentioned that it was traffic court. What? Traffic Court? We then noticed that the name next to the courtroom door was NOT Judge Bowers. Omg! we are in the wrong place. Judge Bowers court room had moved to the third floor! Why didn't our Victim Advocate call us and tell us that the courtrooms have moved? Isn't that part of her job?

We rushed to get up the stairs since now we are late to the hearing. As we were going upstairs, we ran into our prosecutor who is also our newly elected Solano County District Attorney. I was justifiably irritated and voiced my irritation at not being informed of the court room move. Our prosecutor just gave me a dirty look and never approached me again. I still have not heard from her or our Court Victim Advocate! I am very disturbed by this.

The long drawn out court hearing date lasted less than 5 minutes and it was over until Jan. 16, 2015. I was livid. My heart was pounding and I wanted answers from our District Attorney. Well, she never came out to talk to us. In fact, after the hearing her investigator came out to inform us that if we were waiting for her she had to leave early and would not be able to talk with us. This is our Prosecutor! I believe this is the person who is supposed to inform us of what is going on. My heart hurts for my boy and for all of the many victims and families that are being victimized again by this insanity.

We sat in Judge Bowers new court room #303 for nearly an hour before he and the two attorneys came in. Then Matt's killer was brought in. The judge notified both parties that he will be unavailable from Nov thru Jan. 6th. WOW! The next hearing is set for Jan. 16, 2015. That makes it nearly an entire year that Matt's killer will have been able to have visits from family a couple times a week and he does not have to pay any restitution. In other words, he gets all the extra snacks and whatever else he wants because he is not held responsible because he is not actually in prison. While my son is dead and buried.

Here's the kicker, After the hearing, the woman who started the latest insanity, you know, the killers wife/girlfriend/ex-wife, came up to our family and apologized to us, for the harm that she has caused. She told us that the truth will be revealed on Jan. 16th. So, instead of putting an end to it all, right then and there we have to wait 3 months to have a hearing still. Our system of Insanity!

I decided that I needed to pick up my journals and begin to re-read my entries beginning back in April of 1999, when my cousin, Kathleen Sue O'Brien was murdered. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the treatment that our family received even way back then. Kathy was stabbed over 50 times with a sharpened screwdriver, Afterward her body was dumped onto Cherry Glen Road. Her murderer goes up for a parole hearing on Jan. 28, 2015 We will be there!

I feel powerless over the situation regarding my son Matt’s murderer, Henry Don Williams. Not only was Matt our son and a friend to many. He was an elected official in the city of Fairfield, CA. This fact also seems to mean NOTHING within our SYSTEM! The killers ex, signed a declaration last year, claiming that one of the murder trial jurors propositioned her for sex in exchange for a not-guilty vote. In 2008, the then-DA Paulson, elected not to charge the pregnant getaway driver, Nicole Stewart (heartbreaking) and now, years later, the murderer works the system through endless court dates/postponements.

 We, the family, take time off work to relive the nightmare of 9-1-2008, seeing this monsters face constantly, subjected to a judge who seems bothered by our irritation, and having to constantly call/email our DA/victim advocates because they don’t inform us. Lewis should’ve been arrested after the 9-19-14 hearing   (“no-show”) but WASN’T. When finally arrested after two missed court dates, she spent less than 24 hours in jail before being appointed a private attorney (the killer was also) and released.

 I was notified of this hearing 10 minutes before because our advocate “does not get her county emails on her phone.” I check court-connect constantly because I cannot count on those “helping” us. This is the treatment of victims and their families in our justice system.

 I in no way feel that we are the only victims of this system.  I HURT for the countless families who suffer also. Our hearts break for the families of the victims who are unable, financially, to attend the numerous hearings. Last Friday, the women in question came to us and apologized about everything. She says the truth will be told at the Jan. 16 hearing.

 After the hearing our prosecutor never did come out to speak with us. We also have not heard from our court appointed victim advocate since Sept. 29.   I’m grateful for the prayers and support of friends and know God has a plan, but I also believe that the public should be aware of the insanity/our justice system. If I could “Let go and Let God”, I would. But, my son is dead, murdered. I can’t bring him back. I CAN raise awareness to a system that victimizes victims. There’s not a minute that goes by when I don’t think about my boy. Matt never ages He will always be 22. Matt’s voice was silenced by a bullet to his head. I’m still here. I will not be silent. 

Just so you know, Not much has changed. And it won't change unless WE take a stand.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Every day brings new choices. ~ Martha Beck

My morning started with prayer and coffee. I'm very hopeful that the outcome of the hearing tomorrow afternoon will be the end to Matt's killer trying to get a re-trial. I understand desperate people do desperate things and that hurt people hurt people. I was that person as a young adult. It's time to move on Henry Don Williams.

In every moment of my life, I have choices. I can choose to be fearful and hateful or I can choose to 
breathe in the beauty that is all around me. So... in this moment I am choosing beauty and hope.
Life is too short to live in the negative. This does not mean that I will stop looking in to ways to change some of the insane things that are happening. It simply means that I will move in a way that does not harm myself or anyone else mentally, physically or spiritually. The choice is mine in every moment!

The gratitude that I feel in my heart for all of our amazing family and friends is what keeps us all moving forward. Thank you 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The sixth September without you

It was 6 years ago this morning, we were told by the doctors that you would not recover from the bullet that severed your brain stem. I could not believe what I was hearing. How could this be happening? Nothing could ever keep you down. You were filled with so much hope,energy and life. Now you lay there quiet and motionless.

Our hearts were forever changed that September. The grief that your sister's carry with them daily is hard for me to watch. I'm powerless! This fact haunts me. I can't help them and I couldn't help you.
 But we keep moving forward.

This year we went away with friends, to a cabin in the woods. Briana didn't want to go. I didn't like that we were not all together. We made the best of it. Dad, T and our friends took off to Calavaras Big Trees for the day. I decided to stay behind. I prayed, cried and painted some rocks to leave behind. I always leave something of Matt, wherever I go.

When we returned home, we were greeted with so many messages of love, thoughts and prayers from all our family and friends who have carried us for these past 6 years. Thank you! I have watched intently at how GOD blesses us in amazing ways. For all the beautiful people that HE continues to place in our lives perfectly, we are forever grateful.

Matt is no longer here physically but his beautiful spirit has never left us.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The morning after ANOTHER hearing

 I want to take time to talk about ALL of the amazing, loving, supportive family and friends who have been here for us constantly. I appreciate each and every one of you so much. I can't express enough just how much your support, prayers and love mean to us. We love you all and thank you for everything!

We arrived yesterday at the Fairfield, Solano County Courthouse for "the hearing" which was schedule to take place at 1:30PM.
Yes, this same hearing that has been postponed since February. This same hearing that myself, Raymond, my Sister in laws', the convicted murderers girlfriend/wife and several others were subpoenaed to testify at. Yes, this same hearing that is to take place only because the convicted murderer's wife/girlfriend claims the juror propositioned her for sex, although she never mentioned this alleged incident until recently. This is the hearing that the convicted murderer is banking on to get himself a re-trial. This is the same hearing that the murderer's girlfriend/wife, who is the defenses star witness, DID NOT SHOW up to yesterday and testify for her man.

 It is the defenses burden of proof to show cause for a new trial. The girlfriend/wife was subpoenaed to be there and testify "under oath" AGAIN. To testify about what and how the juror allegedly propositioned her for sex in the court hallway 3 1/2 years ago.  She has already been sworn under oath, regarding what she said happened in the courthouse hallway. She swore then, that this juror propositioned her for sex in exchange for a not guilty vote by him.

Why didn't she show up for "THE HEARING" that could get her boyfriend/husband a possible new trial? Why did the judge set another date for her to show up to? Shouldn't this all be thrown out because she refused to show up and because it is the defenses burden to prove?

Is this how it all works? The convicted murderer who was sentenced to 50 years to life for 1st degree murder, in the state of California Court of  law, by 12 of his peers, over 3 1/2 years ago, has the right to continue to have hearings postponed, delayed, while we wait for his girlfriend/wife to show up to court even after she has been subpoenaed to be there? What if she doesn't show up again? Do they set another date?

Why did I have to call the D.A's office when I saw on court connect, that the convicted killer had filed 2 new motions? Why did I just find out on Thursday morning when I called them,on the day before "THE HEARING" that  the D.A investigators have not been able to locate the juror in question to serve him his subpoena? What the Hell is wrong with this system?

It's not just Matt's murderer or our so called, insurers of justice, that I am talking about here. I have continued to witness the injustices in which this system has poured out on to innocent victims and their families for many years now. I have witnessed my friends and family being re-victimized again and again by a "JUST" system. It is heartbreaking and let me add, very frightening to watch and be a victim of myself.

 My cousin Kathy was murdered here in Fairfield in 1999. She was stabbed over 50 times with a sharpened screwdriver. Her murderer was allowed to play games within our "system" for over 8 years before he was finally sentenced to 15 years to life in 2007. Matt was murdered in 2008. Here we still sit in 2014!

 The same statements that I still hear today is "well, at least he is in jail" Really? Is that supposed to comfort us? We have to constantly take time out of our lives, jobs, families to show up for these court dates that the murderer and his public defender have the constitutional right, to postpone for days, months, and years. How is that supposed to make us or any other victims or their families feel better?  It is all so Twisted! I'm so sorry Matt and the other countless victims of crime.

I feel like I could possibly be shunned by our " leaders" or in some kind of trouble for writing all of this. What does that say about our system that I would even consider that this could happen? What have I got to lose? I have been a law abiding citizen. I pay my taxes I vote and I have been a juror. We see it all the time, innocent people who voice their concerns and/or question the decisions or ethics of our Judges, DA's, authorities/leaders, are then scrutinized. Meanwhile, the criminals and law breakers seem to call the shots.
 God help us.

I'm so angry, sad, devastated, hurt and baffled by all of this. To see my daughter's cry and question why all of this allowed to happen when their innocent brother is dead because this convicted murderer decided to have an illegal gun and shoot Matt in the head, it's almost unbearable.

Why are we being talked to like we are stupid for not understanding this process of the law? Why isn't our prosecutor more aggressive? Why isn't she questioning any of this nonsense?  Why didn't she say something about how the subpoenaed defenses STAR Witness, the murderers girlfriend/wife, didn't show up and this entire fiasco should be dismissed? NOPE, Our prosecutor just agreed to another date 2 weeks from now.

 My daughter said to our prosecutor,  OK then,can you just do a re-trial, he will still be found guilty? Guess what our prosecutor said? She said, "Not necessarily". Wow! How are we supposed to have any comfort in our prosecutor with an answer like that? I would think that she would be very confident in her ability to prosecute this murderer, Again! Why would she say, Not necessarily? What is going on?

I will not stop speaking up about what I see in this backward, upside down and crazy system. I take responsibility for my actions and when I'm wrong I can say sorry. I will be mindful of my actions so that I don't make that same mistake again, I will try to do the next right thing for the next right reason. This is not what I witness in our justice system. No one wants to admit that they may have made a mistake or that they should have done something differently. It's always somebody else job or responsibility. They just say, "That's the law" or "We have done everything that we are supposed to do".

 Matthew, I am so sorry that this is the kind of justice that you are receiving for being an innocent victim.

Let us all be very mindful of who we vote into every office and then we must hold our leaders accountable from the very top on down.

Stay tuned I'm positive that there will be more insanity to write about real soon.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Injustice on so many levels

What is really going on here?

First of all, saying that the murder of my son was a case of mistaken identity, is just simply ludicrous.

Next is that the shooters pregnant girlfriend being the driver of the getaway car, SHE WAS NEVER CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME, Why is that? She also never told anyone what had happened until she was arrested, 2 weeks later, and still, she lied for several hours. And they say that they needed her testimony to convict the killer, but if that's the case, shouldn't she have been given immunity. Well, she wasn't given immunity because she was NEVER charged with any Crime!

Then of course next is the trial of the shooter. This is when the jurors and the general public, which also included the shooters new girlfriend, are all intermingled in the hallway at the Vallejo courthouse. So the girlfriend decides to speak to one of the jurors.
 Makes me wonder if his girlfriend planned this from the beginning?

 If our jurors had a separate place to recess to. that would have never happened! Again, I don't get it?

But wait, there is more, The judge decides that he WILL NOT replaced the juror in question even though there are 2 alternates! I can't wrap my mind around any of this?

And then the appeal process begin. And you guessed it...The killer is claiming, 2 1/2 years after the alleged incident, that his girlfriend/wife was propositioned by the juror, who by the way, became the jury foreman at the trial.  Huh?

Of course the appellate court wants the juror issue brought back to Solano County to be heard by a Judge for possible juror misconduct.

Here we are, 3 years and 4 months after the murderer was sentenced to 50 years to life
The killer has been here in the Solano County jail since Feb. where is gets regular visits from his family. He gets to continually ask for delays. He has even decided to represent himself twice now. Today he wants to AGAIN get rid of his public defender.

Oh Yeah I almost forgot...the public defender had me subpoenaed for today's court hearing. REALLY? Oh and the best part is that the process server gave me my husbands subpoena too. Umm I don't think that is Legal? When I phoned my advocate to ask about the legality of this, she didn't know? Wow!

There are so many things that are clearly NOT RIGHT in this entire fiasco!

Oh yeah, when I called my advocate yesterday morning to find out about the 2 new motions that the murderer filed.and what that will mean for us at court today, she mentioned that investigators have been unable to locate and serve a subpoena to this juror in question?
Yep, I Just found that out yesterday!  Did I mention that I called THEM they DIDN'T Call me!

 To top it all off, our newspaper decides to do a jailhouse interview with Matt's killer! Wow, yeah lets give this murdering sociopath more Attention. REALLY? Again, WHY?

We will be there in that courtroom again today. Wearing our Matt shirts and praying for the best but also knowing that this system is so broken. People tell me it's not a broken system its the people that are broken? Huh? I say, these people would not be able to do all of these things if the system worked.

We will keep moving forward and speaking out for change in our laws and the way that the constitution protects the accused and convicted but continues to victimize the victims and their families!

We love you Matt. I am so sorry that this happened to you baby. We  REFUSE to ALLOW this Murderer to take any more of us!

I have more to point out but I have to get ready for court now. God, Please Clear our minds and Heal our Hearts.

Friday, July 25, 2014


It's been a week since I spoke to a group of men, who are sentenced to life at California State Prison Vacaville.  I am still processing the visit and knew that I must get this unexpected visit out of my mind and on to the computer.

A friend of mine works at CSP as a counselor. She asked me if I would be willing to come to the prison and talk to murderers and kidnappers about what happened to my son and how his murder has affected so many lives forever. At first, I was a bit hesitant. I felt afraid, not afraid for myself, more so for them. I thought to myself, What if I just go off in there? What if I freak out on all of them? Will I end up incarcerated too? These are just some of the thoughts that were swirling around in my mind.

When I arrived at the prison at exactly 8:30AM on Thursday July 17th, I was directed by the officer at the entrance gate, to drive forward a ways, and park in the lot on the left. Well, there were two lots to my left and they both said, STAFF PARKING. My anxiety was growing at this point, I am now 5 minutes late to meet with the director of the program I would be speaking in front of.

As I turned the car around twice, trying to figure out where I should park, another correctional officer stopped me and said, "Good morning Ms. Courtemanche. I said hi but I was shocked that this officer knew my name. Did he know I was coming, and that I would be driving a black Cadillac? He then said, that he had worked with Matt at the Lucky's grocery store years earlier. I felt a warm feeling come over me. I knew that God and Matt had sent this particular officer to guide me.

 I parked the car and met Kim inside the visitor center. I went through the required steps to enter the prison. They gave me a badge with a whistle attached to it. I was told not to blow the whistle unless I was really in danger! I kind of laughed at the instruction. Do visitors actually blow the whistle just for the fun of it? I guess so, why else would they have to tell me that?

Once we were on the grounds of the prison, we had to go through several locked gates that can only be opened by a guard in one of the towers. The sound of the gates coupled with the wind, felt eerie. I wasn't sure what to do? Do I keep my head down while walking through? Do I look at the inmates? Are they going to start yelling and screaming like they do on Scared Straight? I didn't ask those questions though. I just kept them in my mind and walked on.

 As we began to walk through the yard. I was so surprised at how polite everyone was. Almost every inmate we passed said good morning. I certainly did not expect that!

Coming toward us was a correctional officer with a shackled inmate who was dressed in all white prison clothes. As we were approaching them, I witnessed them both smiling. The guard said something to his prisoner like, "Do you want me to carry you there on my back?"They both started laughing. Again, this was not what I had expected.

As we entered the building where I would tell the story of what happened to my boy, I was overwhelmed with the number of people in the room. There were people from Sacramento to represent the different government agencies. There were people from the state. There were also about 50-60 inmates. I immediately felt an overwhelming urge to cry, so I did.

I was introduced to the people in suits. One man told me that his son had went to high school with our youngest daughter. This now makes two connections made at CSP that morning.

As I was led up to the front of the large room, I began to look around at all of these men. They were sitting in their chairs, some chatting together and others just looking around at all the activity. Oh yes, there was also a TV camera in the room, along with a reporter and the camera and microphone crew. It all was a bit overwhelming. Yet again, it was very unexpected.

I remember bits and pieces as I was describing that horrific Sept. 1, 2008. I do know that I cried a lot. I talked about my pain and anger. I talked about forgiveness and compassion. I talked about taking responsibility and hope. I shared how Matt;s killer continues to drag us through this nightmare again and again because he can, those are his rights.  I saw many of these men wiping away their tears. Once again UNEXPECTED

After I was done speaking, it was now the inmates turn to tell their stories. They talked about how wonderful the program has been and what they have learned. They shared about the never ending hurt and pain they have caused the victims and their families I was not prepared for the emotion and compassion that I felt. Totally unexpected.

I would say that this has been another turning point in my life. Some of these men shook my hand, with tears in their eyes and they apologized for the pain they have caused. Some of the men knew about Matt and his senseless murder. One man said to me, "You could have looked at us as though we were your son's murderer, but you didn't," I didn't because they are not. My son's murderer refuses to take any responsibility for his actions on that Sept. night when he killed our son, brother, grandson and friend.

I was asked to come and speak again, and I will. I am also not naive. I understand that these men have been locked up for many many years. I understand that after so many years of incarceration and structure, it would be very difficult to return to society and not get caught up in the drugs/alcohol and crime/violence again. But, even if just one man can accept responsibility and begin to live a life totally different from the one he had prior to prison, maybe just maybe...