"I'm innocent!" she said when she arrived at my house that Sunday afternoon. This was the first time I'd seen my cousin in many many years - at least twenty years. She looked good, trim, fit, tanned. She had her boyfriend, who I will call Brad, with her.
"Well, what does the law have on you if you are out on bond?" I asked.
"Well I did shoot him." she said, smiling over at her tall, lanky blond haired boyfriend with a smile.
"I need a place to stay, I want to move out of the Houston area and he's getting a job over here" she said.
I wasn't going to let anyone move into my house with me. For some reason I didn't trust her. I knew she was spoiled and got whatever she wanted to her entire life. I knew she had given her folks a lot of grief. I knew the family members who knew her best weren't supporting her at all during this time. I didn't know who had posted bond money for her. "Well, I can rent you the house in the back until you go to trial."
"Great, it'll be me, my daughter and my boyfriend."
"Ok but I don't want any parties, no drinking, and no loud noise."
"No problem" she said. They began moving in the next weekend.
It wasn't long into their first little while here that the cursing woke me in the middle of the night. It was loud. She was calling the boyfriend everything but a white boy. That's their problem, I figured.
The next day she left me a note that the toilet needed fixing. They were out and about, so I went in to examine whether it was something I could fix or something I needed to call a plumber for. It was clogged with food and LOTS of toilet paper. I had to call the plumber this was more than I could handle.
I was dumbfounded when I walked into the little house. Food left on plates with flies and magets, beer bottles everywhere, a pistol on the night stand, pills - bottles of pills were everywhere. I knew this was a violation of her bond.
I had already fought to clean up the neighborhood, and here, I'd brought the rift-raft back into it. We had regular "chats" out the back door about my expectations of her living there. During one of my absences from my home, Sherry Kay broke into my home - with a key she had found, and stole many family heirlooms (which she had never been a part of during her upbringing and I never got back), VCR , clothes, dishes, pots, pans, anything that she thought she wanted and damages to my flooring - she'd poured some sort of acid all over the hardwood floors.
I reported her to the police - had to if I was going to get an insurance claim on anything - who then reported it on to the Harris County District Attorney's office. During this absence of mine, she also moved out - leaving 3 full truck loads of garbage and debris - mainly beer bottles, left over food and pure trash -along with some empty pill bottles and used condoms to be hauled off by me and my crew.
They moved to the West side of Beaumont - substantially white population at the time - because "we didn't like all them niggers walking the streets around us." Most of those black people had become my friends and were very protective of me. I would defend them under any circumstances if they were in the right.
About a month prior to her trial, I received a phone call from the Assistant District Attorney who was handling her trial. "You are going to be getting a summons to appear in court at her trial."
"I don't want a summons. She is related, and even though I'm pretty steamed at her, I don't want to testify."
He asked me what all had happened once Sherry Kay came back into my life. I started from the beginning - the house, the admission of guilt, the boyfriend, the thefts, the destruction, the booze, the gun, the pills.... everything that he already knew based on the report from the police department in Beaumont who'd already seen the damages and the trash, etc from the little house.
Sherry's trial came quickly after the call - I had fretted and worried for several weeks. I'm sure she was also.
"Do you solemnly swear....?"
"Yes" I stated.
I was certified as an expert in Domestic violence, having had worked with the victims assistant center, spoken on television, radio, and working with the domestic violence center, psychology and social work background in college and having been a survivor of domestic violence myself.
Never had Sherry Kay said she was abused, at least not to me, by her husband that she had killed. There were no bruises on her at the time of her arrest. There were no scratches, bite marks, ligature marks, nothing to validate her story of being an abused woman.
The night before I was to testify, she made a phone call to my mother asking her to come to the trial the next day hoping that my mother would prevent me from testifying against her. My mother phoned me after that call - and I told her, "stay out of this. Just stay out of this." Mom didn't come to the trial, but Sherry did admit to me in the hall that she had hoped my mother would've come so that she "would make you not testify."
Good grief! I was in my 40s! And, I had to tell the truth because the district attorney already knew the truth and I surely wasn't going to perjure myself!
My testimony lasted what seemed like forever. I had to look at Sherry Kay and her boyfriend who sat there mouthing at me the entire duration of my testimony. The Judge called the boyfriend down twice - admonishing him for his behavior and I believe he was removed from the courtroom.
Sherry Kay's husband had became a Christian. He was begging her to get off of her drugs, her drinking and stop running around on him. His vehicle was packed. He was leaving. Her meal ticket was about to leave her. She hid his keys - all he wanted was his keys to the vehicle so he could leave. In return, she walked down the hall, came back with a 45 pistol and shot him - dead.
After moving into my house, she was "anxiously waiting for the insurance money" but was "doing okay with the social security benefits from her daughter." And, she told how she wished she had some of that money that she had taken from her mother - before she died. She had drank and partied hard. Still was.
Sherry Kay was convicted of murder. She received twenty years in prison. As she was hauled from the courtroom she turned and said "I will kill you - I will know what prison is all about and I will kill you when I get out." Later that evening at home, I received numerous phone calls - threatening ones - from her boyfriend and others who wouldn't identify themselves.
My husband had me leave town. He sent me away for two weeks, until things felt safe and more calm. I changed my phone number. I put in a security system. I did what I needed to do to protect me.
I could've pressed more charges with the threats she had made. I didn't. I was given paperwork to file with Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a "victim". Each and every time her parole came up - I would write in opposition of her release.
Sherry Kay's older half sister took "S", Sherry Kay's daughter in. Sherry Kay had her on so many medications it wasn't even funny - it took Barbara and a good doctor a while to wean her off of the medications and even the breathing machines. Stability in her diet and sleep schedule also helped. Her grades improved. She blossomed.
Sherry Kay did get released in 1997 with certain conditions - one being of not having anything to do with me, no contact with me personally nor through a third party. She has now broken that stipulation. She has joined facebook and befriended cousins - who never knew her.
Sherry Kay was basically abandoned by her father, a Garsee - a brother to my dad - when he and her mother divorced. Sherry Kay was adopted by Freddy. At another Uncle's funeral, she was introduced to her biological father, a shocker for him. Her mother kept in contact with several aunts/uncles and my parents for years. That was how Sherry was around some of us - but not near as many relatives as we have.
So, she never knew cousins her age - most of us were older who would visit them. Now, after three years out she has found these cousins on Facebook who find her the "victim" and "feel sorry for her" and "want to give her a second chance." Which, if that is their choice, I'm proud for them. However, her disruption of lives continues because when I "unfriended" many from facebook - it was as if "you drew a line in the sand." I didn't speak but to 3 people about my decision and another cousin's decision to befriend her. But, after UNfriending someone - the world knew!
I was accused of dividing the family - because several others "UNfriended her". When she wrote about it - I truly had no idea what she was talking about. I don't have time in my world for the petty. And, I surely wasn't going to allow my personal life to be available to Sherry Kay.
I wish none of them any harm. I hope that Sherry Kay has indeed changed, however at this point, I don't see it. "She just wants to be a part of the family." That is because her sisters and brothers have nothing to do with her - that's called a "clue" in my world. I don't want any part of it. I want the peace that I have in my world. I don't want to have to worry if she were around me. I don't want to mingle with her - and it isn't because I don't want her to have a second chance at life - the threats are too vivid - too engrained in my mind - and I don't want her around me nor knowing my business.
I used to keep up with the Judge in Sherry Kay's case - he had encouraged me to continue the fight against domestic violence. We saw each other on occassion during political rallies or functions. When I wanted to open my own Private Investigations office, I phoned Judge Guerra and asked his opinion about the field of work. He was encouraging as always. At one point in his career, he was up for a Federal Judgeship in Laredo.
Over time, I have learned that family is something you are born into - but the real family of life is who you end up with in the end. For each person I delete from my life who is a negative, God has been gracious to give me many more to replace them - and my new family - has been the biggest asset and joy in my life!
Someone asked me, "why would you post this story?" I am doing it for protection - many who know me, know that I do not scare easily - but I want the world to know what this woman has threatened and what she is capable of - and I pray to God that she never harms another person - whether physically nor materially. This is not done to be vendictive in any manner. I hope you understand.