Why Not the ‘Mary Stachowicz Hate Crime Act’? Killer Nicholas Gutierrez Escapes Death Penalty

TAKE ACTION:  Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 or e-mail them at www.congress.urg and ask them to reject the “Hate Crimes” amendment that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) cynically added to the National Defense Authorization Act.   

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 Mary Stachowicz: not the right kind of victim to the media

We favored the death penalty for alleged homosexual Nick Gutierrez for murdering Mary Stachowicz — and then effectively blaming her for “attacking” him (see story below) — just as we called for the death penalty for Matthew Shepard’s killers. But isn’t it interesting how the media have devoted so much coverage over the years to the heinous crime against Matthew, and so little to that against Mary? (Associated Press failed to even cover Gutierrez’s trial.)

How can reporters, producers and editors justifty their double-standard? These days it can be presumed that the Fourth Estate will lavish coverage on “gay” victims, while pious victims like Mary often get ignored. And it seems the media have even less interest in the latter when the murderer is a homosexual — imagine AP ignoring a story about a ‘christian’ who killed a lesbian and stuffing her in his crawl space? I cannot.

In a way, the media’s blatant pro-homosexual bias in covering terrible crimes shows the perils of the “hate crimes” concept in general — both affirm a politically correct hierarchy of victims that is unjust and un-American, no matter how well-intended. Surely, press bias also helps to perpetuate the lopsided prosecution of “hate crimes” against approved classes of victims (like Shepard) by mobilizing government resources through the pressure-generating power of the media spotlight. 

The homosexual lobby named its “thought crimes” bill the “Matthew Shepard Act” — even though he wasn’t killed “just because he was gay,” as the liberal myth goes. But there will never be a “Mary Stachowicz Act” because in the eyes of the same liberals, she was not the right kind of victim.

Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 or e-mail them at http://www.congress.urg/ and ask them to reject the “Hate Crimes” amendment that Sen. Ted Kennedy tacked on to the Naional Defense Authorization Act.  — Peter LaBarbera

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Nicholas Gutierrez, murderer of Mary Stachowicz, deserves death penalty but gets life in prison 

By Allyson Smith, Americans For Truth

CHICAGO — Nicholas Gutierrez, who in November 2002 gruesomely murdered Mary Stachowicz, a devout Chicago Catholic mother of four, was sentenced July 3 to life in prison, even though his crime made him eligible for the death penalty. The sentence was handed down by Cook County Circuit Judge William Lacy following sentencing arguments made by defense and prosecution attorneys the previous week.

“I think the judge was fair, but as the daughter of the victim, knowing what he [Gutierrez] did to my mother, he absolutely, 100 percent deserved the death penalty,” Angie Ruffolo, Mrs. Stachowicz’s daughter, told the Chicago Tribune.

Last November, Gutierrez, who had worked with Mary Stachowicz at the F. J. Sikorski Funeral Home on Chicago’s Northwest side, was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering her. Days after her murder, authorities found Stachowicz’s raped, battered, stabbed and strangled body in a crawl space beneath the floorboards of Gutierrez’s apartment above the mortuary.

In addition to being vaginally raped, sodomized, and sustaining 10 fractured ribs, Mary suffered 11 stab wounds in the head, face, and neck due to Gutierrez attacking her with such ferocity that the tip of the steel hunting knife used to commit the crime was bent. Afterward, he stole money from her purse, attempted to hide the killing, and “even ate meals at the table he placed over the floorboards covering Stachowicz’s body,” according to a June 27 Chicago Tribune report.

During Gutierrez’s sentencing hearing the week of June 25, prosecutors argued strongly for the death penalty, describing Gutierrez as a man who had sexually abused a female relative and another young girl when he still was a child.

Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Vicki Kennedy said the case “screams out for a sentence of death.” Gutierrez “went on with his life, while her family members are going in and out of that funeral home,” she said. “All the while, Mary’s family was hanging pictures in the neighborhood that she was missing.”

Gutierrez’s attorneys argued that he did not deserve the death penalty because he had been physically, emotionally and sexually abused as a child. Before being placed in the state’s custody at about age 10, he was raised by a mother who was an alcohol and cocaine addict, they said. One witness, Carol Garza, testified that she had done drugs with Gutierrez’s mother in his home three or four times a week for a decade. At those times, Nicholas Gutierrez was locked in another room of the apartment, Garza said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, defense attorney Crystal Marchigiani argued that Gutierrez “acted under the influence of an extreme emotional disturbance” the day he killed Stachowicz. But during opening trial arguments last year, Marchigiani employed what Americans For Truth called an “anti-Christian panic defense,” telling jurors that Gutierrez killed Stachowicz after she confronted him for having homosexual sex, and that Stachowicz had instigated the attack by following Gutierrez upstairs and bullying herself into his apartment.

Prosecutors characterized the supposed facts underlying that defense as fabricated.

Defense attorneys also argued that Gutierrez was not eligible for the death penalty because he may have sexually assaulted Mrs. Stachowicz after she died, saying that if the assault occurred after death, it should not be considered rape and that he should not be sentenced to death if he did not commit a felony in addition to the murder, according to the Tribune.

During sentencing arguments, Angie Ruffolo held a photo of her mother, Mary Stachowicz, and told the newspaper, “Everyone is talking about how graphic it [Mary’s murder] is,” adding that the defense called the crime scene a “bloody mess.” “I need to think about her, how beautiful she was.”

Mrs. Stachowicz’s children described their mother as a supportive woman who cooked holiday meals and took them to church every Sunday. Ruffolo told the Chicago Tribune that her mother would have given Gutierrez the money he stole from her, if he had only asked. Ruffolo added that Mary never got to see her three sons get married or meet her five grandchildren, one of whom was born the day Gutierrez was convicted of her murder.

In her victim impact statement, Ruffolo told Gutierrez, “You took all of that away. Why couldn’t you take your own mother and leave mine alone?”

Mary’s youngest son, Danny Stachowicz, 26, told the court that his mother was his best friend and confidant and that he could always count on her. He said he once dreaded the prospect of getting up and going to church, but “Now what I would do to wake up and see my mom dressed for church.” He said he cannot even look at the church he grew up attending, St. Hyacinth, which is directly across the street from Gutierrez’s former apartment, without thinking about how his mother was stabbed, raped and tortured.

Danny Stachowicz told Gutierrez, “People say time heals all wounds. I am here as proof to show nothing heals wounds like this. I can only hope your life is lived in agony.”

At the sentencing, Bernard Sarley, another of Gutierrez’s attorneys, said that Stachowicz’s children were “fortunate enough to have as loving, as kind a mother as a child could possibly have,” and cited statements they had read to the court as proof.

But some of Mary’s relatives said that after enduring hours of graphic testimony detailing how she was killed, the defense’s tactic of using the family’s own words to defend Gutierrez was what hurt them most at the sentencing.

“It was wrong for them to turn our victim-impact statements against us,” said Mary’s son, Chris Stachowicz. “It’s disrespectful to my mother and to our family.”

“It is difficult to determine how ‘justice’ was rendered in this case,” said Susan Jordan, who organized a candlelight vigil in memory of Mary Stachowicz on her death anniversary in 2005. “I attended the opening and closing sessions of the Gutierrez case – along with Peter LaBarbera. I was absolutely sickened by the details of the gruesome murder of Mary Stachowicz. I find it especially troubling that the defense attorney used words from the Stachowicz family to portray Gutierrez as a ‘victim’ because of his difficult childhood.”

This article was posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 12:57 am and is filed under Assaults, Christian Persecution, Court Decisions & Judges, Homosexual Hate, News, Victims of Homosexual Murderers. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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