Saturday, June 16, 2012

Raw Nerves

Renee Duskin  August 23, 1962-July 4, 1994

When people die, what's left behind is spirit and raw nerves. Spirit, being the person who passed. Raw nerves being the exposed ragged edges of the tattered spirits of the living, who mourn the dead.

For whatever the reasons the universe brought me to Renee Duskin, her family and her story.... almost twenty years ago...
that same higher power, force, fate, whatever you wish to call it, including coincidence...
brought me right back full circle this past week, upon hearing the news, from her brother, via the police, that his deceased sister's former boyfriend was found dead.

This former boyfriend, a well-respected attorney was a suspect in her murder according to newspaper stories.
I was friend of the family's.
Very confused and curious.
Did Renee kill herself or did someone else?

So I did the research anyone, with the family's written permission could do.
And what I found was the same thing other people were finding out. That something was definitely not right in the suicide determination.
And all indicators -- from the scene to trace to GSR tests to forensics to tox screen to interviews with witnesses, independent and otherwise...
everything, right down to the death scene and autopsy photos...
(which I might possibly have viewed before the family did, if they ever did...)
indicated something was afoul, amiss.
In other words... and in my opinion... it was NOT a suicide.

Now I am not going to name any more names in this post.
Or go over the whole story gain.
All you have to do is scroll down a  little bit and see the blogs I wrote about Renee's death.
Some comments on that blog are real nasty.
However... these same people think I am being nasty, by writing about a man who just passed and left a grieving family. A a platoon of friends. A posse of angry people who wish to defend the man, father, friend, brother, son they believe was falsely accused and is being disparaged.
Can you blame them?

I get it. I truly do.
However, I know more than just a bit about homicides/suicides.

Life insurance companies especially, are interested in these  kinds of cases because a lot of policies do not pay out in the case of a suicide within a specific time period.
So Renee's insurance company did not want to pay her beneficiary,  who was...go figure... her suspect boyfriend.
And who was, by the way, allegedly pressing the life insurance company for a fast payout.
So while the police were looking at this in criminal court,
the insurance company was looking at this in civil court.

Each court has its own standards of determining guilt.

A criminal court must prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" -- meaning the jury or judge is 100% convinced the person did it. Not a doubt there. At  least not a reasonable doubt there.

A civil court must prove guilt based on the preponderance of the evidence -- meaning the evidence is more like than not the person did it.

In the case of Renee Duskin, no criminal court charged anyone with homicide.
In civil court, it was determined that Renee's death was not a suicide.
And, I  believe, under "cause of death," Renee's death certificate was changed from "suicide" to "undetermined."
While I could be wrong about these fact as it has been close to 20 years, I do remember the sweet moment of victory for Renee's family when that death certificate was changed.

So to the point... and  the end of this story.
I am still getting hate mail and comments on my posts.
I publish them unless they are obscene or nothing but threats and name calling.
Some say "take your blog down, this man is dead, what about his children?"

To that I say...  when those kids enter his name in any search engine: mega search, dogpile, google, bing,  the  newspaper articles come up too.
There wasn't just one article published on renee's case. there were many.
Yes my blog comes up.

Should I take it down?
No, I think not.
It is something I chose to write about because I feel deeply about the subject and did indeed experience it as much as a non family member, a friend, could.
So when when the issue of Renee's mysterious death arose, I felt catapulted into the past. However,I  have been aware that there are two opposing sides here.
And a great deal of volatility.

That's why I called Renee's brother and read him this very piece before I posted it.
I wanted to address, with him and with my blog readers a very important issue -- the children of the decendent. They are minors.
They are innocent.

My theory is this -- and it is based on experience having worked with this issue before.
If the alleged suspect's  children ask about him, before they surf the net...
before someone in school brings it up...
the family will likely have spoken to the children about their deceased father.
If the family to chooses to do so, should the kids ask...
they can say he was accused falsely.
His family can tell his story any way they want.
Renee's family can tell her story any way they want.
And I can tell my story any way I want.
Because I am a blogger!
Just one more  measly voice among millions, perhaps billions...
one more ant in the colony called earth with an opinion.

My husband, a soldier... his father, my father, my family members and most likely someone in everyone's family.... has a family member who has... or is... currently fighting in a war somewhere to defend this country.
They fought for America's ideals, which happened to include free speech.
This blog post would be an example of that.
Free speech.
I never expected to blog about Renee again.
Then again, I never expected to get the emails I did tonight.

 I like to say, "There are three sides to every story -- your side, my side and the truth."
Let's leave the truth to the police and media now.
Thankfully, they too protect me and my freedom of speech.

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