I'm a total slobbering, sobbing wreck.
I have been wanting to see a new documentary called "Dear Zachary" for a while now. I had no idea...
Spoiler ALERT. Go see this movie now. It's on MSNBC today and all during the week. TIVO is. Tape record it. Then brace yourself. Bring tissues.
Then come back and read this.
I love a good mystery so I wanted to see this movie and see justice done. Dr. Andrew Bagby, by all accounts, was one hell of a guy. Sweet, funny, short, loving were some of the words used by his friends and family. So many people loved him. So when he didn't come to work one day, everyone knew something was wrong. He had recently broken up with a woman(I had originally typed 'stupid bitch' but I will try to refrain...) by the name of Shirley Turner. He broke up with her then put her on a plane back home... then she promptly drove 1300 miles and knocked on his door. Creeeepy. He didn't realize that she was a total nut job. She shot him. She left him in the dirt near a park. She then drove back 1300 miles. When she realized that the police had fingered her as the murderer, she fled to Canada.
Here comes twist #1... She was pregnant with Andrew's baby. Twist #2... The Canadians let her go on bail (which she never paid; her therapist put on almost all of it.) So this pregnant murderer, carrying her victims baby, was released. She had the child, who was named Zachary. This is one cute freaking kid! Chubby cheeks and smiles all the way.
So Andrew's parents, these amazing people, quit their jobs and moved to Canada to share custody with Zachary's mom. Yes, you heard me right... they had to play nice with their son's murderer or she would cut them off from their only grandchild.
For a second time Shirley was arrested and for a second time, she was released on bail, again, not having to pay one dime to get out.
So many people failed. If just one of the dozen people opened their eyes and saw what this woman was... When Andrew's father talks about his plans, I have to admit, some what ashamed and then again not at all, that if I were in the same position, I would have thought the same thing. He had thought about killing Shirley so even if he went to jail, his wife, Andrew's mother and Zachery's grandmother could raise him. In retrospect, it is actually a great idea. But too little too late.
I won't tell you what happened next. It's too horrible. You hear the director, Andrew's friend, and his voice cracks and he pushes forward to tell the awful tale. You see the rage and sadness in his friend's faces. The anguish in Kate's face... the rage in David's eyes... it's palpable.
Now, all that's left to do is write. Write about this story. Write to friends and strangers, writing about Andrew and Zachary. But if you happen to write to anyone, and I do encourage you to, write to his guy.
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Tell him how you feel. I did. Here is my letter.
Last night while sitting in my home, curled up in my pajamas on the couch, I watched an excellent documentary called "Dear Zachary". I am sure that you know of this film. I followed the film as most people would... I cried as the grief of Andrew's family was poured out on camera. I beamed as Zachary's beautiful face danced across the screen. I grew angry when Shirley was given break after break. And then.... I was yelling. I found myself sobbing NO NO NO, crying until my pajamas were soaking wet. I am still in shock. This is why I am forced to write you this letter. My adult brother died 2 years ago in a car accident so I know what it is like to lose someone. But the death of Zachary could have been stopped while my brother's could not. That precious, beautiful baby is gone now and I mourn for him like I mourned my own brother. The director and Andrew's friend said it perfectly...
"While people charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty, presumption of innocence should not be stretched so far as to allow an actual murderer to repeat his/her crime while awaiting trial. We propose that this pre-trial detention period for accused murderers be conducted with minimal hardship and liberal visitation rights, and with the courts speeding this process along as quickly as is practical."
I know that you will do your best to help change the laws to insure that something like this can never happen again.
I hope you will have a good holiday season and remember Zachray and Andrew and Kate and David Bagby, all their friends and family, and the complete strangers like me who care about them when you spend time with your own family.
Thank you for your time,