That’s quite the sentence to write.
No intro is needed as I’m the one living it.
I found out a few hours ago that the man who hit me in the head with the brick is out of prison.
He’s (technically speaking) outon parole – I haven’t figured out how to look up his location yet … I’m just letting this all sink in first.
For the last four years, in March or April, I’ve written a letter to the parole board pleading for the man who assaulted me to not be released early.
See, he got 19 years in prison for my assault, but the DA erroneously filed my charges resulting in a classification of the attack being labeled as “non-violent.”
i had no idea before i read this letter that anything with my case was “wrong.” i just knew when i read it, it all felt very very wrong.
A misclassification and Prop 57 (a California initiative that was passed in November of 2016), allowed the offender [the word for someone who commits assault] to be considered for parole having served only six years.
A far fucking cry from the 19 I watched him get sentenced to.
To put it in perspective, I had a concussion for six months.
That would mean he was only going to serve one year for each month I was mentally (and physically) barely able to function.
The courts had reached out two years later (in 2018) asking for a personal statement from me, the victim.
The man in the DA’s office was actually shocked I called as most victims choose not to speak out against their attacker.
Brick or no brick a common theme in my life is that … I. SPEAK. UP.
I will speak up in your grill … and auditorily bring the meat … the tempo of a tenderizer … the smokin’ truth of BBQ sauce … and most importantly the smile on my face watching the sizzle appear and the knowingness of “yep, it’s done.”
Just kidding, I’m autistic so I doubt I’d actually smile.
As shocked as I was that this was even happening, I was NOT going to allow this man to get out on a super shitty technicality.
The assault wasn’t personal.
He didn’t know my name and could barely keep a coherent focus when I testified.
Months later when I saw him get sentenced, he was a different person very noticeably on the medicine he requires to function in society.
I’m not mad at him or the DA, remember, she took me to lunch the day of the trial and even gave me a ride home in her Corvette once she learned I was planning on taking the bus home alone.
The last words I ever imagined to label a DA in LA is “cool and “compassionate” but she was both and that’s my truth.
Even if she hadn’t gone above and beyond for me that day, it was still human error.
It happens to all of us.
This is the first time since Prop 57 passed that I will be re-writing out the letter, with the knowledge that he has already been released.
It is what I had planned to do this month anyway.
To Whom It May Concern:
I’m writing in regards to case XXX the People vs. XXX. I received paperwork indicating that because of Prop 57 he is eligible for early release and I am writing to STRONGLY advise against such actions.
In January of 2012, I was walking down the street at 7:30 at night (heading to a comic book shop on Sunset Blvd) when I was struck in the head with a blunt object later identified as a brick. I was immediately knocked unconscious and was pulled onto my feet by the back of my hoodie from the business owner (who witnessed the attack through his window).
I was unable to walk or talk but pointed at the suspect. The shop owner and employees noticed the man (identified as XXX) acting irrationally outside of their business and had even called the police immediately before my attack out of fear he was going to hurt someone.
I was no doubt in the wrong place at the wrong time but was tremendously lucky that the business owner and employees took action in apprehending Mr. XXX. I went to thank them a week after the attack and they indicated after my assault he also robbed a liquor store and made it all the way to Hollywood and Highland before officers took him into custody.
As a result of the attack, I received four staples to my head (see photo attached), two precautionary vaccinations (also placed at the site of the injury) and suffered a severe concussion which lasted approximately six months.
I (unexpectedly) testified in court on February 14, 2012 and saw a man that could barely keep a coherent focus. This attack wasn’t personal, and while I’m not a medical doctor, I could very easily tell I was looking at a mentally ill individual.
In July of 2012, I was called into court again and notified that he had struck a deal with the DA. He had a history of felonies (if memory recalls back to 1984) and I was initially told they were going after 25 years to life (as head injuries are considered more severe).
He accepted 19 years for my assault, and as the DA went through line by line the reading of what he was agreeing to, I was actually relieved to what I was hearing. Not because he was going to be sent to jail, but because for the first time since meeting (this now no longer stranger), Mr. XXX seemed to have gotten “better.” He genuinely seemed coherent and was obviously receiving the proper meds that he needs to be a functioning individual.
The DA charged Mr. XXX with CA Penal Code 243D battery with serious bodily injury. He was charged with the assault but not the great bodily injury which classifies my assault as a nonviolent offense qualifying Mr. XXX for early release based on Prop 57. If the GBI charge had been filed more accurately as a 245, this would not have occurred.
California Penal Code section 667 .5 C (8) states that:
Any felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice which has been charged and proved as provided for in Section 12022.7, 12022.8, or 12022.9 on or after July 1, 1977, or as specified prior to July 1, 1977, in Sections 213, 264, and 461, or any felony in which the defendant uses a firearm which use has been charged and proved as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 12022.3, or Section 12022.5 or 12022.55.
My case was filed the way it was files – there is nothing I can do about that.
What I can do is PASSIONATELY PLEA that this man NOT be released back into the community. HE IS THE DEFINITION OF DANGER TO SOCIETY WHEN NOT MEDICATED.
Please protect our streets by not letting this happen to another person. I wouldn’t wish this life experience (emotionally or physically) on my worst enemy. I am very lucky to be alive. The next person might not be so lucky.
1) I love that I signed off with “best” on one of the worst life experiences I have ever had.
2) I’m REALLY proud of the language I researched and knew to use … I totally Elle Woods-ed myself going legalese … “what, like it’s hard?”
I joke … all of this has been hard and now that it’s done … it’s just that … done.
After ten years I get to throw out all of the notices with his name, and inmate number … even the one where his bail was set at over a million dollars.
For cathartic purposes I might set fire to them.
And now every March or April, I don’t have to guess or wonder what his “status” will be, I now know.
I want to say that I feel “powerless” right now, but the reality is, I’ve never felt more of the opposite … I’m empowered.
My written words kept him in jail for (almost) four more years post Prop 57.
I don’t believe that would have been possible had I not written that letter.
I spoke my truth protecting others, who may not have been as lucky to survive such a gruesome assault.
And because I don’t have brain damage after getting hit in the head with a brick.
HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!
I was not only capable of doing our sold out live show the next night (albeit with little memory of it) …
… i also wrote, produced and directed the eight after.
Shout out to the very talented @JennHoffman and crew for the very hard and most excellent work.
At sentencing, I watched a man receive what I perceived as a death sentence based on his age.
I’m not even mad that he’s alive, I’m just aware of how much I have done directly and indirectly because of this experience.
Ten years later, I am not only a very functioning individual … but for the first time I UNDERSTAND WHAT MY LIMITATIONS ARE BASED ON THE SUPER POWERS I WAS BORN WITH!!
(Meaning autism and synesthesia – which are both not considered mental illness, but rather a sign of genius.)
I don’t have proof of this, but I believe being born borderline dead (a one on the APAGAR scale) for the first five minutes of my life, also saved it in this incident.
This photo speaks the rest of the thousand “HOW DID I NOT DIE” words I’d turn blue in the face in speaking …
The Victims Advocate reminded me all throughout the proceedings how lucky I was to be alive.
It hadn’t really occurred to me how lucky I was, because at the time, I didn’t feel it.
I sat in court shocked as she held me and reiterated the severity of what was done … to me.
<tangent> I vividly remember everything she said that day, which is shocking since my memory had only recently come back at that point. I can still see her face and remember the sweater she was wearing. It was the perfect, “I’m here to hug you AND YOU’LL LIKE IT texture.” It was super soft, but not like annoyingly so.</tangent>
“Have you read the book the Four Agreements,” she asked?
I had at that point, and told her I would read it again. (Which I did.)
The Four Agreements are as follows:
- Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word.
- Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally.
- Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions.
- Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best.
“You can’t take this personally and you can’t let this define your life.”
For the first time in a decade, I no longer have a say over someone who did something very wrong … and I gotta admit … that sounds about right.