On March 14th I will board an airplane for a 1 hour flight to SoCal. I will then meet up with a Solano County Deputy District Attorney. We will drive from Burbank to Lancaster Prison to attend the parole hearing for the man who murdered my cousin, Kathy O’Brien.
This is Mack Arthur West’s initial parole hearing. He murdered Kathy on April 19th 1999, nearly 18 years ago. When Kathy’s body was discovered on a rural road in Fairfield, it was not clear what had happened to her. At first, it was thought that she may have been hit by a car and dragged for some time. Her injuries were that severe.
Later, it would be announced that Kathy was stabbed over her entire body more than 50 times. Most of the stab wounds were of her upper torso and face. She also had several stab wounds to her hands. We all knew that Kathy fought very hard to stay alive.
The shock of what had happened to Kathy has never left me. The thoughts of what she went through that night will haunt me forever.
The horrific and vicious murder of Kathy could only be committed by an insane killer. The physical act of actually stabbing someone over 50 times is something I will never be able to wrap my mind around. Mack Arthur West should never be given the opportunity to walk among us.
The sickening details of Kathy’s death not only shocked us all, her murder devastated our entire family. My aunt and uncle would be unable to attend the 8 long years of hearings and postponements for Kathy’s murderer. The gruesome details would be too much for them to bear.
The murderer continued to play the courtroom at every hearing I attended. I attended all of them except for the ones that I was not notified about. My anger and distrust of the system grew as I watched this crazed lunatic act out in the courtroom. He would yell and scream and even threaten the judge.
The judge had him placed in the glass box where we could still see him but he could not distract the proceedings with his verbal outbursts. The murderer decided to bang on the glass, play with himself, and spit. He wanted to be sure that everyone could see that he was insane. That was his defense. Not guilty by reason of insanity.
I for one did not need to be convinced of his insanity. Anybody that could physically plunge a sharpened object into another, and do it over and over, more than 50 times, is INSANE!
None of this matters in a court of law. Mack Arthur West has rights that cannot be denied. I was infuriated by all of this. It was a circus.
After living this nightmare for eight long years, Mack Arthur West was sentenced to 15 years to life in January of 2007. Kathy’s dad died from cancer before the conclusion of this nightmare.
So much had happened in those long eight years. My kids were not kids anymore. In 2007 my son Matt had ran for and won a seat on the Fairfield city council. He was now the youngest elected official in our city. He was 21 years old.
Our happiness and pride for him was felt all over our city.
Matt wanted to make Fairfield a safer place for all of us. His main focus was our young people. He wanted them to be proud of whom they are and to take pride in where they live. He realized that our city was not a place that young people had very many options.
Fairfield no longer had a bowling alley, a skating rink, or a boys and girls club. Matt understood that removing all these places for our young people to socialize was detrimental to our community. He said, when you take away these things, what do you think is going to happen when these kids don’t have anything to do? There will be trouble.
The young people were excited to have a young person to help speak up for them. Our city was filled with a wonderful sense of community and hope that we had not seen or felt in a long while.
Matt was instrumental in talks regarding a youth center that would soon be opening. He was helpful in getting the city council and the school board to sit down and talk together for the first time in many years. He understood that WE ALL had to work together to bring solutions to the scourge and violence which had been increasing in our city.
Matt was on the city council for 10 months. We received a call on the evening of Sept. 1. 2008. Matt had been shot in the head while visiting a friend outside of her home in a quiet neighborhood. Our lives changed forever that night.
The 8 years spent waiting for justice for Kathy, turned into the most intense devastation, grief and loss I would ever experience. My son Matt was now gone too. The violence has to stop!
I will be present at every parole hearing for Kathy’s murderer. I will be at any and all parole hearings for my son Matt’s murderer. Matt’s murderer and Kathy’s murderer also happen to be in the same Lancaster prison. How does that even happen?
At times I scream at God! I cuss at God! Why... God? Why did you allow these heinous acts of violence to take place in our family? I am quickly reminded that God didn’t commit these horrendous acts. These were committed by murderers who have no concern for human life. I will be there every step of the way to remind whoever needs reminded.
I will be there next Tuesday March 14th to remind the parole board of Kathy’s murderer.