To the honorable Judge James Biernat Jr.,
Right now a jury is deliberating if a grandmother of two young men, her grandsons, should she also be held accountable for the dealings of heroin from her residence. The defendants attorney, Johnston, is stating that she was living in the same home as they were and unbeknowst to her they were selling heroin. And may I add, not just one house, because they moved after being caught the first time, but the second home. Johnston says that there is no evidence she knew what they were doing and they used their "street skills" to shield her from their activity. That would be like saying she was blind and couldn't see every time someone walked in the house, especially since the paraphernalia and heroin were in plain open view.
My interest in this case and the first reason for writing is because of what Johnston said that was close to being hypocritical and just plain nonsense. Johnston was quoted as saying "Good character alone can be enough for the jury to acquit his client". If that's so, not only her but a few other people being held in jail for letting people use their homes for drug use and selling would also walk away scott free. He states "What purpose does it serve by convicting this lady? The bad guys have been convicted. What does a conviction bring in this case other that to continue the 18-months nightmare". REALLY? She left one home, knowing what was going on, and moved to another to do just the same thing they had left the first home for!
My second reason for writing this at all is the disgust I find in how we are walking on little pins and needles because she is a grandmother who raised these boys. Grandmother or not, what they were all doing was against the law. Keller, part of the prosecution's drug unit said she needs to be held accountable because of the heroin's devastating effects on not only the users but their families and crime victims. That's the big second reason of my letter to you. I AM the family of a victim, my son WAS a victim. Johnston said "good character" as part of his description of her. My son also had good character. He was 26, going to college, worked part time at the Mirage Hall and was the middle child of a middle class family, OUR family. He had his troubles with the law and he paid for them the way the law stated. In the last two years of his life, he had stayed out of trouble and was turning his life around. But addiction is a disease, and he was caught in it. He didn't get his license back after losing it because he said to me one day, "I don't feel responsible enough to be behind the wheel of what can be considered to be a weapon if all your faculties aren't there, and mine aren't". He could have had it back anytime within the last two years of his life, but he didn't. He was smart enough to know he didn't want to hurt anyone, but wasn't in control enough to make decisions about his own life which was just as important, if not more. Sometimes I say he put his life after others when you put it that way. But then others could say he was just using it as an excuse.
Alex Philip Killoran died in his room of an accidental overdose of intoxication of heroin/cocaine in the early morning hours of 2/18/12. I went to wake him for school and he was dead. His sister, a nurse who lives at home also could do nothing for him. His brother fell to the floor in tears in utter disbelief. His father kept saying over and over MY SON MY SON and me, the mom; the one who carried him for nine months and stayed home to make sure he was raised by his parent and not a sitter; well I stayed strong and angry. I cried, but I held steady that this was not his fault, someone SOLD him the drugs, someone LET THERE HOME be the one he could go to and use, somewhere SOMEONE knew what they were doing was illegal but they were making money and they didn't care. I have since come to my senses in that the final fact still is HE is the one who put the drugs in his body and didn't expect to die, but did. And the scariest part was hearing the detective in this case tell me there was NOTHING I could do, even as he left our home to go to a another home only to find another victim, in the same circumstances, dead in his home the same way.
The bottom line is I was the mom of an addict from Sterling Heights. A mom whose love goes beyond the death of her son and will forever try to find a way to stop another family from this hell. I am very aware how the usage of drugs is all around us. This addiction knows no certain race or how you are raised or what income your family has. It's a drug running rampant through cities and ANYONE who is using their home for the making, delivery, selling, buying or receiving of should be held accountable regardless of age, race or their GOOD CHARACTER. I have 625 people that received thank yous after the funeral who can attest to the fact Alex had a GOOD CHARACTER, TOO. I don't have an 18-month nightmare. I have a lifetime nightmare.
Terry Tringali Killoran