Lisa was my sister-in-law. I say "was" because my brother murdered her. What is really sad is that even though he beat her for years he didn't intend to kill her and he will only serve a 5 to 8 years sentence for it. As my niece said, "he finally hit her too hard one time."
I have a severely dysfunctional family. The only reason that I was even speaking to my brother was because I wanted a relationship with my niece and nephew. Lisa was aware of this. Lisa and I were typical sisters-in-law. We got along fine most of the time but we also had arguments like sisters do. Yet even when we argued we both knew we could count on each other if something happened and we proved that to each other time and time again. At the time of her death we were arguing. When I say arguing I mean not speaking. Even though we weren't speaking there were several times when we stepped up to help each other in that period.
Over the years my brother abused Lisa both physically and verbally. The first instance that I knew of happening was while she was pregnant with my niece. They had been married less than 9 months. I went to her when I was told about it and let her know that I would help her in any way that I could if she decided to leave my brother. I was not about to let my future niece or nephew suffer because of my brother's actions. His violent nature was well documented in my family as well as his propensity to cause trouble by manipulation. When I went to Lisa at that time I think it established the basis for our relationship.
Lisa, of course, refused to leave Billy. Five years later along came my nephew. I never heard of any more problems with them until about 15 months later. Lisa called me crying. I was living in Florida and she was living in West Virginia. (Our family is from WV) She told me that she had left my brother. She told me that he had beaten her badly and that it had been going on all along but she did not want me to know because she knew that I would encourage her to leave him and she loved him.
She also told me that he had raped her. She was living in a separate house and he broke in and forced her to have sex while threatening my niece and nephew who were asleep in the next room. She said that he rammed his entire fist into her mouth to keep her quiet even though she was afraid to make any noise because she didn't want to wake the children and scare them. Keep in mind that my brother is 6ft. 2in. tall and weighed about 250lbs. Lisa was about 5ft. 2in. tall and the most she ever weighed was about 130lbs. usually she weighed about 110lbs. Again I assured her that I would help her and the children in any way that I could including financially.
A few weeks later the entire family showed up on my doorstep. I was quite surprised because I had spoken with Lisa several times in that period and she had not mentioned a reconciliation. I looked at her and she signaled for me not to mention anything. So I didn't. Later she told me that she had reconciled because of the kids.
A few years later I came back to WV when my own marriage broke up. Billy and Lisa were very helpful to me. I asked Lisa several time if there were any problems and she always told me no. Things seemed to be fine except for the normal arguments that every couple has except I would go to their house and there would be fist sized holes in the wall and once my nieces' door was ripped off the hinges. If I asked them what happened I wouldn't get an answer. Everyone would just look away and then change the subject.
I did go in one day when it was obvious that he had just finished beating her. She looked like a ragdoll. She was completely enraged saying that she would get even with him. But once again she did not leave him. She told me that she didn't want to end up like I had after the break-up of my marriage. (i.e. broke and trying to start over) She, most of all, did not want her dad to tell her "I told you so". She did start a countdown of when she was going to leave my brother though. "D" day was my nephews' 18th. birthday.
Billy and Lisa then got into some legal trouble over the business. Unfortunately he convinced her that the best way to beat the charges was to stick together no matter what. Because Lisa would not testify against her husband in court, she was sent to prison for about a year. I tried to talk her into testifying against him but she was convinced that this was the best way to handle the situation. I had been listening to her do her "D" day countdown for about 2 years and I reminded her of this, telling her that sending him to prison was the best way to leave him. She would also be able to stay with her children that way.
The bottom line was that she loved my brother.
At 5:30 am one morning while I was at work, my mom called me. I knew it was bad as soon as I heard her voice. I was working my midnight job and there was no one there to relieve me. I made her tell me what was wrong. She said "Lisa's dead". I asked what happened. She told me they found her in a trunk. I asked what kind of trunk(picturing a piece of luggage). She told me the trunk of a car. I knew immediately what happened. My mom told me that my brother had disappeared with my nephew and she wanted to know if I knew where he might have gone so that she could tell the police. I couldn't think of anything.
My mom had told me that she was sending the police to a friend's house that she thought that Billy may have gone to. I knew that was wrong because Billy and Mike had not really spoken in years but Mitzi (his wife) and I were good friends. So I called them, Of course Billy was not there and they couldn't understand why my mom would send the police to their home. I explained to them that in a lot of ways my mom lived in the past and refused to believe that they weren't good friends with my brother any more.
Then I called my uncle.(My brother had gone there to hide from the police once after he had beaten me) My uncle said that the police had been there and searched the house but would not tell him why. I told my uncle why and of course he was in complete shock about the situation.
I finally got to leave work about 6:30 that morning. I had to go home and care for my animals because I knew I was going to be gone from home for a few days. I tried unsuccessfully to reach my nieces' boyfriend. I did not want to tell her what happened because she was due to have her first child any day.
At 10:30 that morning I spoke with my mom and she said that the police had found my brother at my grandma's house. She didn't know where my nephew was though. I went to my grandma's house and asked her where Arny was. She told me that the police had come and taken him away at about 6am. She had to tell me 3 times because I thought she was talking about my brother - not my nephew. I couln't figure out what the police wanted with my nephew. He had always been a mama's boy.
I left intending to call the police to find out my nephew's whereabouts. The State Police Barracks office was just a couple of miles away so I went there. I went in and identified myself and told them that I didn't want to know anything about the murder, all I wanted to know is where my nephew was. The woman told me to wait. A few minutes later they led me to a room and there was Arny. I was so relieved to see that he was OK.
The police had been questioning Arny even though he was a minor. They asked me to be present for further questioning. I asked Arny if he felt up to questioning and told him that if he felt he needed a lawyer that he should wait. Arny told the police that he had nothing to hide. I will never tell anyone what was said in that interview for legal reasons. I will say that everything my nephew told them was entirely believable. There were a few points that I felt the police could have gotten more information but they were following an entirely irrelevant line of questioning trying to pin the murder on Arny instead of my brother. (my nephew was in school at the time of the murder)
I wanted to tell them where to elaborate their questions but it quickly became obvious that they did not want to listen to anything I had to say. Finally at 1:30pm. I put a stop to the questions because my nephew had been up all night. His mother was dead. His dad was in jail. He had nothing to eat since the night before. It was obvious that he needed rest before the police forced him to say something stupid because he so desperately needed some rest.
A few minutes later his grandpa showed up.(Lisa's dad) The first thing he did was ask me what I thought happened. I told him we both knew what had happened and discussing it in front of Arny at that time was not the proper thing to do. He said he would take Arny to get something to eat and take him home. Once I knew that Arny would be OK, so I took off to Florida to be with my pregnant niece. this was Wednesday Afternoon.
Becca had a beautiful Baby girl on Sunday Night. Kendall Marie Descalzi (Marie was Lisa's middle name and also the paternal grandmothers' name is Maria. So it is the perfect name.)
It is now six years later and my family is still torn apart by Lisa's murder. My brother maintains his innocence and several member of the family believe him. I have a couple of aunts who maintain that even if my brother is guilty it is not his fault because of his abused childhood. Hogwash! Even though I had documented his abuse in this blog, he still made a concious decision as an adult to beat his wife. I spoke to him several times over our lives about breaking the cycle of abuse. He would always tell me, "I'm working on it."
The hard part is watching my niece and nephew function without their mother who adored them.