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Dennis Yaklich murder 12/12/1985 Avondale, CO *3 people, including wife Donna, convicted, sentenced to prison*

Dennis Yaklich

Yaklich killer scheduled to face parole hearing
Free Donna Yaklich
Donna Yaklich To Be Released After 18-Year Prison Term
Cries Unheard
Yaklich set to be released to halfway house
Husband-killer goes to halfway house
Woman convicted of hiring hit-men to kill husband moves to apartment
Murderpedia: Donna Yaklich

Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story
Snapped: Donna Yaklich (this is a webisode of this that you can watch)
Evil Stepmothers: Nanny Nightmare

Donna Yaklich – 40 years (was released to a halfway house after 20 years – but I believe has been released from there now)
Edward Greenwell – 30 years – was released from prison
Charles Greenwell – 20 years – was released from prison


91 Responses

  1. where in south dakota was donna from

  2. After watching the movie I was thinking of the movie, “The Burning Bed”, where Farah Fawcett played an abusive wife. Donna should have killed him herself, but being formally married to an abuser myself I can see where it would be hard to. I mean murder isn’t in your heart, maybe your head but actually killing someone for whatever reason is not in your soul. I finally got up the courage to leave mine and went straight to the Sheriff and asked him just to escort me out of town. That was a joke as my husband had helped get him elected so he wasn’t going to help me. I finally called my parents to come get him and my step-father drove my car while I rode with my mother. Sure enough he saw the car and made him pull over. Of course he never showed his true colors in public and he never threatned to kill me but still the mental abuse and physical abuse was there. Long story.

    Anyway Donna should never have received such a harsh sentence but I am glad she is out now and maybe will soon have complete freedom.

  3. Meant to say come get me not “him”.

    I was wondering why the children were never called to testify as surly they saw the abuse of their mother(Barbara) and their step mother.

  4. Watched the movie and my heart goes out to Donna. I was also in an abusive relationship years ago. It took years to get away, but thanK God I did. The sacrifices she had to make. My heart also goes out to her son.( Denny). I would like to know how she is doing now. And if she can receive letters or E-Mail?

  5. Donna spent too many years in prison…Why is it that a cop husband on steroids to boot can get away with violence and the mysterious death of his first wife? When Donna had him killed him she should not have went to prison. almost 20 years? when the 90’s came everyone became aware of what steroid use does and banned it from sports. I cannot believe that she was not released knowing the affects of that drug. He was a monster that played mind games with Donna. The only thing I wish is that she would have been more public with her abuse as it was happening. She would have had more understanding then. I am glad she is released and would like to hear of an update on her life.

  6. donna went to one of dennis fellow officers in the movie with a batterd face for help.why wasnt there testamony from that officer.I thought police were supossed to serve and pertect. Sounds like another cop that only cares about loyalty to his guilty brothern! Sad to see a police officer could have helped but did nothing! I think Donna is OWED!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Yeah Mark why is it that a fellow office was not brought to testimony? Could it be because of what is FELLOW officers would do or say afterwards? It is no wonder that police officers men or woman today are not trusted when it comes to how they handle people everyday on the job.

  8. i hope she has a relationship with her son now and can find peace and happiness she so deserves

  9. I understand the want to kill him for the abuse, I lived with abuse for 2 years and I walked out one day and never return and not having children with him make it eaiser but she had no right to pay to have him killed.
    I feel sorry for the fact that she was abuse but having him killed is NOT the way out. The men who did it are serving life and she is now released after 18 years? NOT right. She could have walked away and let him live. If she was wanted him dead why noit kill him herself in self defense instead of cold blood.

  10. Please DON’t feel sorry for this woman! I was one of the many officers who worked the Dennis Yaklich Homicide that night. She should have been convicted of murder – period. You didn’t see how she tried to listen in on all our conversations to see if she slipped up. You didn’t see the 160 holes that were placed in that man caught by surprise in his driveway. The movie was pure fiction with very loose facts in it. Bunk!

    • I know for a fact that police officers stick together. I believe Donna should have been found not guilty period. Their are more rotten cops out there then what anyone can imnage. The good police out there I still believe out number the bad. But they are afraid to go to internal affairs and for good reason! I know how it is to run away from a crazy man. I am lucky I got out. Poor Donnaand her son did’t.

    • You sound like you were one of the cowardly – crooked cops. It’s just a shame you were not there for Donna in the first place before Dennis was murdered. Perhaps thing would have turned out a lot better for everyone.

  11. Whilst I felt sorry for Donna, women often refuse to leave their abusive partner. Sometimes unfortunately sympathy can wain for women like her who do not help themselves.

  12. oh course Phyllis you would say that. But whatever happened she did not deserve to be treated like that. He deserved it and more. I am sure he is burning in hell now where he belongs

  13. Before you shed too many hears for Poor Donna, read what Dennis’ daughter has to say. There is more to this story than Hollywood will tell you:

    After the parole hearing in October 2005 Dennis Yaklich’s daughter spoke openly about the decision. “It’s devastating,” she said, tears welling in her eyes. “I don’t believe justice has prevailed. My father died at age 38. He was stripped of his opportunity to live life. He was prevented from raising his children, from seeing us grow up and accomplishing our goals.”

    Fingering several snapshots of her father with her and her siblings, Vanessa said his murder didn’t have to happen. She said two months before her father’s murder, her stepmother told her that Dennis Yaklich had asked for a divorce but they were going to postpone the proceedings until after the holidays for the children’s sake.

    Donna Yaklich had four stepchildren from Dennis Yaklich’s previous marriage and one biological son.

    “She wasn’t in a marriage that she couldn’t get out of,” Vanessa said. “I never witnessed my father being physical with her. He was never abusive to me or my siblings.”

    Vanessa said when Donna informed her of her father’s death, her stepmother showed no grief and no remorse. “When she came and woke me up to tell me about my dad, her face was red and flush. She was smiling and playing with my brother (Dennis Jr.),” she said. “She showed no remorse in her eyes.”

    She added that days later at her father’s funeral, Donna slapped her for crying. “That’s the kind of person she was. She took a man’s life and then she wouldn’t even let his children grieve,” Vanessa said.

    “His life was taken because he was going to divorce my step-mother and not because she was the victim of abuse.I never feared my father nor did I observe any abuse, whether it be psychological or physical, perpetrated by him. His demeanor was calm and loving; his words encouraging and supportive. I can honestly state my step-mother did not provide my siblings or myself with the same. She was harsh and condescending. I grew up being told on a regular basis that my father was ‘stupid’ because he ‘loved’ me. I can remember my step-mother shoving my head into the wall at age 4 as she pointed her finger in my face and told me, ‘Your mother killed herself because you’re a bad little girl.’ The stories go on and on…

    Obviously, my father is not here to defend himself. Hence, I have taken this upon myself because I know the truth as well as the injustice that has been performed.My stepmother’s legal defense was paid for by my father’s life insurance proceeds and my family and I believe she profited from the made-for-television monstrosity. Most recently, her financial status has provided her with the ability to hire a media publicist.Both he and her high-priced attorney have manipulated a representative of the media who, in turn, placed political pressure on the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department to re-open my mother’s death.

    She passed away in 1977 and the autopsy, performed at the request of my father, determined her death to be the result of a potassium deficiency. The task force assigned to this case has failed to speak with her doctors, etc., to verify she was ill and under the close supervision of her medical doctor the last year of her death.Rather, they are focusing on the lies of a convicted murderess. I have implemented my own investigation for which I have evidence substantiating my mother misused Lasix which led to a potassium deficiency, which led to cardiac arrest.

    My eldest brothers were home the day of our mother’s death, but again, this is just another fact being tossed to the wayside by investigators whose job is supposedly to determine the truth.”

  14. I just watched this movie and after hearing what the SD Vanessa said I’m a little confused. Was she the one who lived with them and testified at the trial on Donna’s behalf?

  15. Please don’t feel sorry for Donna. As a member of a family who knew them, she was NEVER abused….think about it…he was a body builder, if he abused her she would have walked away with alot more than bruises….which I might add not too many people ever saw. I would strongly urge people not to watch the movie and if they do to remember it is what she said happened and he is not here to defend himself. If you do find yourself compelled to feel sorry for her, find transcripts on what his daughter has said. Also the shelter in Denver she supposedly checked into has no record of her being there, it was all one lie after another! She deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison.

    • You should read your posting. First, you said she was never abused and then you say ‘not too many people saw the bruises’. Its sad that you cannot keep your own story straight! One more reason to believe Donna’s story.

    • You truly are in denial. Your family should be concerned about you also. Donna Y should never have been convicted. The police should have helped her.

  16. I also felt angered and upset that her husband was aided and abetted by his fellow officiers, yet, Donna Yaklich was given a heavy sentence because she had thought there was no other way out. Not to long ago, I had an opportunity to be in court on false charge and sorry to say – both the Plaintiff and the Officer committed perjury. I am still trying to overturn that verdict. It is hard when the Blue line closes. His partner, and a few other officers could have testified differently had they been allowed to be there. But, I did not know their names. It was clearly a Kangaroo court in favor of the officer lying. I had tried to have cross charges made against the Plaintiff and was refused by the officer in question. So, it is quite undertandable that other police colleagues of Dennis Yaklich would back him and not her. Disgusting. And shameful. My friend’s stepfather was extremely abusive to her mother and to her when she was young. The way her mother and her sisters and my friend left was one of terror, brutal beatings and a flight. They barely escaped with their lives. Yet, when her mother tried to have him arrested – the Captain of the Police told her that he would have to arrest her too since the stepfather had cuts all over his body from her mother trying to defend herself and her children by throwing plates, dishes, glasses, etc at him to stop the violence. His name was Sydney Griffith and he lives near Lecanto, Florida – he was also a child molester of his stepdaughter is my friend. He owns a feed store on Lecanto Hwy. He is old now, and people do not believe my friend when she accused him of sexually molesting her when she was 6-7 years old. She said it to his face in his Feed Store with his one employee defending him and Griff tried to say that she was mental. He never paid for what he did. Women and children are always the ones that pay, never the man who abuses, hurts, humilates or controls.

  17. I agree with you Lavonna. Instead of HAVING him killed, she should’ve killed him herself. The premeditation of this murder is what got her 20 yrs. Had she of killed him herself, 9 out of 10 she would’ve walked.
    Amy, how do you know she was NEVER abused?? Unless you were with them 24/7, you can’t possibly know that.

    • I totally agree with you Shauncey — unless you are in another person’s shoes, you do not know what they felt or went through! His daughter Vanessa was 11 when this happened, like she would really remember anything? I know I can’t remember that far back. My mother was in the same type of relationship when I was that young, but I do not remember the times he beat the door down, or threw her down steps, which he did go to jail for. We can not always recall the bad things that happen at a young age. If you ask me, he got EXACTLY WHAT HE DESERVED!!!

  18. I feel VERY strongly for Donna Yaklich. My mother was the victim of an abuser. She was brutally murdered by my father after years of abuse. He would always be very warm and sweet to my sister and I and he never once abused my mom in front of me or my sister BECAUSE we were kids. Who’s to say that Dennis Yaklich wasn’t the same way? He may not have showed it in front of his children but it doesn’t mean he didn’t abuse her.

    My grandmother knew what was going on and she feared what would happen if she had made any attempt to help my mom. I believe my mom was in a relationship where the only way out was death. She couldn’t run because he would find her and kill her. She couldn’t talk to anyone because he would kill her. If she didn’t do what he said, he would kill her. I can honestly say that I would give anything for my mom and dad to switch places. He affected her so much to the point where she actually thought she was worthless. My mom suffered through so much pain: broken legs, broken arms, etc. Nothing I say is going to make it seem as bad as it really was for her. She did not deserve that at all. She was a WONDERFUL mom.

    I miss my mom so much and I will NEVER forgive my dad for what he did. I believe Donna Yaklich had to do what she had to do for the sake of her own life. No one was going to help her; it was her only choice.

  19. Lindsay,
    I am sooo sorry for what happened to your mom. Terrible, terrible way to die. Only a coward would do this to a woman. God bless you Lindsay, your mom is at peace and is watching over you. Please tell me your dad is in jail.

  20. Google Mark Anthony Freiga.

    The Donna Yaklich story is what happens when a woman can’t findd a way to get out. The Erin Weaver (Mark Freiga’s victim) is what happens when a woman gets out but the courts insists on allowing a violent abusive man with a drug problem a low enough bail amount.

  21. Shauncey,

    Yes, he is in jail. My mom died when I was 13 and he was convicted when I was 14. He cooperated with police so he was spared the death penalty. I’m just thankful he’s in there for the rest of his life. He’s been in 11 years now and he’s written me 132 letters and I have yet to respond to him. I don’t feel as if he deserves anything from me. I know God wants us to forgive but I can’t forgive him for that.

    This is why I feel for Donna Yaklich. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Enough,” you would understand. Sometimes in abusive relationships, you can’t run. Everything my dad did was behind closed doors. I’m sure Dennis Yaklich was the same way.

    a note from the blog owner
    I agree. It is easy for everyone to say “get out” “run away” etc., but until you are enduring the situation, it is not that easy. It is very hard, especially when you don’t just stop loving the person. It is hard to imagine that someone you loved (and often times for many years) would do this to you, hit you, threaten you, etc. Feelings don’t just change overnight. You often time believe that the person will and can change. It may not sound reasonable or rational to many, but it is reality. And yes, I have gone through this myself. It is very scary and stressful. And no one should be judged for this. It is life altering in itself and changes anyone. It has for me. And unfortunately, most people who get in these relationships, seem to continue finding these kinds of relationships. Or they find them. It is hard to break the cycle.

    Lindsay, good luck to you!

  22. My heart goes out to any abused women, men and children in this world no one should have to suffer like that.. I myself and my mom was abused and i feel that you feel there is no way out…You love that person and try to figure out why would they do such a thing you always think you can change them … I don’t always think that killing is the answer but either it’s you or him and if you have children what should you do just wait around for him to kill you and your children..

  23. I have seen the movie many times and had a huge heart for Donna Y. But, since her release I have read a lot on line from her stepdaughter, and seen a webisode that she did and there are a lot of discrepencies between the movie and reality that I am seeing. For instance, the movie showed one daughter… there were five kids… , the movie made it seem like she was arrested days afterward when in fact it was years. In the webisode I watched the allegation of abuse was barely touched on. And I too always wondered ‘why didn’t the cop who saw her beaten up testify to that’ ‘why didn’t she get the records from the womans shelter to prove she tried to run, but he stole her out of the shelter against her wishes’.. well, because those facts were apparently fabricated. I always wondered while watching the movie, how in the world he was able to take her out of that shelter, I mean the movie shows the receptionist pick up the phone when Dennis takes off to find Donna in the facility… I assume she was calling 911, so how did he get her out and all the way home without the involvement of the police? Well, I read now that it was because she was never in a shelter. So, with all this, I have NO opinion on the case at all… the movie was so fabricated, we may never know the truth. I have learned my lesson though… I don’t believe everything I see on tv… look up the news articles, that is where you get a lil more of the story.


  25. I must comment on this because I was unfortunately one of the people who knew him because of my ex-husband and my illegal activity. In absolutely no way was this man hateful, abusive or evil (as shown on tv). He was concerned for myself and my children and treated me with the upmost respect. Please, please don’t be used by Hollywood, Donna, or whatever that former Charlie’s Angel (which was a really bad actress…whew) was. Whatever… I was treated very respectfully and kind by this man. So quit letting your emotions take over this because of something you’ve been through.


  26. Shame on you for not letting me voice my opinion. What does waiting for moderation mean?

    note from blog owner
    Shame on me? Just for the record, ALL comments, from anyone, are not posted until I approve them. This includes even my family. This is due to some problems that occurred a while back. I approve 95% of the comments. But, sometimes it takes me some time to get to them. I do have a job and cannot just sit and wait for comments to appear. Plus, some days I have over 100 comments to approve. It is not personal to you.

  27. This makes me sick to read alot of this. I knew both of them, and there are truly two sides to every story! Dennis was a very nice man and truly respected in the community. I agree that she should have done it herself but even if she had she would still have gotten prison. I know when this happened these children were very small, but the older daughter, I believe knows the true story. My heart breaks for her, I saw it first hand. I also witnessed Dennis and Donna together on a few occasions…yes Donna had bruises to her face and some cuts on her legs, but as any abused wife would say…she said she fell…hmmmm??? I liked Dennis and I am sorry that his life ended the way it did, but I do believe Donna loved him very much but there comes a point that you need out and can’t get out because it comes down to her or him…what would you do? It is just so sad on both sides but I think she has been through enough. I really hesitate to post this, but knowing them first hand I can’t help it. I am sorry for his family, it is a tragedy also for The Greenwells, they caught up in a bad situation, Charles was also a great guy, I couldn’t believe he got caught up in this. I wish Donna the best and may Dennis RIP…

  28. Just left a comment, and had all of them on my mind, I was thinking of Charles, but meant to post Edward was a great guy.

  29. Please accept my apology. I don’t ever leave a message on these blogs and don’t understand. Honestly…I am sorry I reacted too soon. CAS

  30. I live in the town where this happened. Yes, he was a cop we feared being arrested by Dennis Yaklich. I had dealt with Donna and her stepdaughters (he had another wife that died, the cause of death was never found) she was wonderful with them. The problem I had with the whole situation was that she talked 2 young men into taking care of the problem. She ruined two very young impressionable lives. She also took a trip to some tropical island (too long to remember) with her young attorney not long after the death. She was arrested coming off the plane. The movie was totally tainted, she had a job. He didn’t keep her a prisoner. He had a bad reputation, people my age (50) all still remember Dennis Yaklich. Did he deserve it, no, no one does unless the court decides.

  31. Frankly, I think what happened to Donna, is a travesty. I lived with Domestic Violence for 26 yrs. In that length of time, it was a miracle I survived. My abuser was the “white” version of O.J. He could lie easier than tell the truth. I had left him several times, and sadly, let him talk me into coming back. At the very last, I knew if I did not get out he would in fact kill me. My opinion is she was imprisoned too long. She had already been in a prison without bars. A shame she had to spend 18 years, behind bars. I hope she can finally find some peace and a measure of happiness.

    Donna couldn’t turn to the police…he was the police. There are many reasons a woman stays, but none worth losing her life for. I do believe Donna was “Battered”, and abused. It was years before I told even my own family what was going on. He was a “charmer”. Some who knew us couldn’t believe he was what I said he was. BUT the fact is…living with a “nightmare” does strange things to a woman. It robs her of self-esteem, courage, and makes her immoble when it comes to leaving. Fear disables a woman in abuse. I finally left because I got so angry at him,. for all the “hell” he had put me thru. I was able to turn that anger, into action to get out, and stay out. I feel for anyone who is abused. It should not happen to anyone.

  32. i was in an abusive marriage for 4 1/2, the movie may have been fabricated(like most are),but people who knew her, saw bruises and cuts.althought murder shouldnt be the answer,i have to say that i thought of it numerous times.also,alot of men hide their true selfs to other people,i know i had to make up lies all the time,where the bruises came from,and had to keep my stories straight,cuz i’d say i was at someones house and i fell down the stairs,and then when i saw the people i used for an excuse,i had to think what to tell them and make sure no one was with me that i told the first story husband threatened me,told me he was going to kill me if i left him or told anyone what he did,i slept in the bathroom tub numerous nights,and on the bedroom floor a couple times,cuz he wouldnt let me in the bed and wouldnt let me leave the room. i had a son by him and he threatened to keep him and had numerous family members in law inforcement and probably would have gotten him cuz of that.althought he barely ever changed a diaper and never would have been able to take care of him. he was also a drug addict and freebased regularly.he had guns,so i was petrified to leave cuz of his threats with IF the story is true,and i believe it probably is,i can undertand why she did it. but back when it happened,it wasnt like now,where she could have done it and walked away. i feel for her and it brings me right back to my marriage,i get sick to my stomach when i think of it.but i will tell u what finally made me get out,knowing i could die… my husband was beating me cuz i yelled at him for being gone 2 days and i had no idea where he was at(no cell phones then),ofcourse he was out cheating on me(i was a stay at home mom,i couldnt leave the house unless it was to the grocery store,laundromat or his mothers..he would stop home frequently to check on me) so anyway,he started to hit me,i’m on the floor balled up crying and telling him to stop,when all of a sudden,i hear my 3 yr. old sons voice say LEAVE MY MOMMY ALONE!!!!– my son was on his dads back(my husband was kneeled over me on the floor) and hitting his dads back while yelling this. my husband got up and left the house.that was it for me,i found a time when he wasnt going to be home and i found a friend of mine he didnt know from the past and packed a bag for me and my son real quick and left…needless to say THE MAN WHO LOVED ME SOOO MUCH,actually met a girl the day after i left him(no he didnt know her b4 this,i know for a fact,we are friends now) and he moved her in that night. she ended up marrying him-she was only 16 or 17 when they met- and put up with hi crap for 14 years and 2 kids b4 she finally left and her are great friends now and it helps us to cope with the horror he brought us. my heart goes to donna!!

  33. Let me start by saying…I know the family well, and the lifetime movie is called . THE DONNA YAKLICH STORY. it is her story only alot was fabricated. Vanessa did not testify on donna’s behalf in fact she wanted to testify against her but was not allowed cause of her age at the time. don’t feel to sorry for donna. there are always 2 sides and she could have killed him herself if she was that scared, after all there were guns in the house..he was a cop and hunter

  34. I saw the movie too and yes there are 2 side to a story, but unless you have ever experienced being in an abusive relationship you cannot judge!!! I was in an abusive relationship physical, emotional, and verbal, he would even spit on me. I always wanted to leave but it was hard. After I had my son he started to hit me . My mother tried to tell me to leave it wasnt until he broke my arm and fractured my cheek bone that I finally did. He would come to visit out son but I promised that if he ever laid another hand on me I would kill him. He never came back to visit!! Its been 9 yrs. Its very hard! Before that I would hear stories about women and said , why dont they just leave….. Its not easy!!!Whether Donna is telling the truth or not we probably will never know for certain , but judgement day is awaiting us all!!

  35. I had the opportunity to meet Donna while I too was serving a prison sentence for an unrelated crime. As someone surrounded by other criminals, many of which were manipulating and not so kind, Donna was totally different from all that. Not once did I ever see or hear her being unkind or manipulative toward anyone. No one truly knows what really happened but the truth is time changes people. Everyone should be given the opportunity to prove they can and have changed. I was very happy for Donna when she was given that chance and hope she does well after so many years behind bars.

  36. Ok… I’ve read this thread of comments as well as watched the movie and I too am left to be confused on this situation. I can say that someone who is an abuser keeps it undercover. It wouldn’t make sense for them to show their true colors! I see that neighbors and friends of the Yaklichs have posted but do u truly know what happened behind closed doors?

    Some talked about where were the other kids. In the movie when they first met, he told Donna that they were staying with family.

  37. I am glad Donna isnt going to serve the whole sentence! He deserved every bit of what he got. Why didnt another county or another set of police officers take over the “investigation” seeing as how he was one of their own so therefore may be seen as biased. I hope she can put this behind her and can move forward with her life! Go Donna!

  38. I also saw the movie just today. I belive Donna would have died in that marriage if she did not have Dennis killed. I also came from an abusive marriage. He would hold me down and make me have sex with him for hours at a time. I finally got out. Donna if you read any of these feel free to contact me at anytime.

  39. i saw the movie several times and my heart goes out to donna not dennis, he makes me sick he controlled her beat her, no one should have to put up with that, i was also married to a control freak and i mean freak, just like donna, i feel she should have not spent one day in prison , its a shame the system stinks, i hope donna in out in the world with someone who will cherish her and that god dennis is gone so she now can have a peaceful life. i wish i could email donna she should have the support of ever woman who was abuse, its ashame the cops didnt come forward but they all stick together. god bless you donna

  40. My heart goes out to the children. I was a schoolmate of Vanessa’s and had been a visitor in her house before the tragedy. I never had the oppertunity to meet the Step-Mother Donna but i did meet Dennis and i do not feel that he was represented more inapropriately as he was in that movie. He was a Loving affectionate father and a decent policeman. As a formerly abused woman i can see where people would want to defend Donna but i will not do so, i Know the devestation felt by the children and can only hope that one day this chapter will finally be closed and perhaps the remaining pieces of their lives can be picked up.

  41. I have a lot of sympathy for this woman,for I had met Dennis Yaklich,I was 18 at the time,I was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana,which came out to be a 100 $ fine. The one statement that stood out in my mine during the interrogation was , and I quote “THAT MEXICANS WERE A WASTE OF HUMAN LIFE ! I am now in my 40’s and lead a normal life. I never wish for anybody to perish because change can come within.I wish Donna the best of luck in her new life!

  42. Dear World, This is for everyone who put Donna Yaklich in prison for the murder of her fake husband dennis, yea i said fake. the reason i said fake is no reason a man should hit a woman at all. I seen the movie. it just didn’t make any sense for anybody to take dennis side, and the part when the funeral and for people to say he was a fine man, he was a woman beater and killer. just cause he was a officer that give him the right, if that’s the case i should become a cop and kill and abuse people and get away with it. if he would have killed Donna, this would have been the second murder he would have gotten away with. then when donna went to his friend, he went back to repeat it. he could have helped, he should have been in jail. nobody had to live with dennis, but donna. she know what kind of man he was. she gave up california to be with him. he raped her while they’re child was in the room crying. and the man in court talking about the man could have been getting abuse, kiss ass!

  43. Un, i went thru all the comments. that is so unfair, but phyllis you really caught my attention. how you have the nerve to say that we should’t feel sorry for donna, well guess what i do! your less then a woman to even say that. they have people who say they seen the marks on her face. i’m pregnant And going thru the same.i been spit on, hit in the face with a phone, etc. he even hit me in front of his family. and you know what, his family defends him. when he was arrested i called his mother. she asked why i put her son in jail, you know what if i would have killed him to defend d myself. i would have been on death row, if his family would have came to court. he once hit me in front of his sister, i try to get the phone and call 91 1. she took the phone and hunged it up. he even made me go down on him twice until he got soft, if you know what i mean. nobody never know what goes on behind close doors. noboby knows what dennis did when he was alone with donna, i believe donna.

  44. It’s a very sad state of affairs when so many people are willing to publicly badmouth, villify & condemn the deceased victim of a violent crime based SOLELY on the fantastic events as depicted by a completely fictional movie. Apparently as long as a cold-blooded killer like Donna Yaklich is willing to fabricate some phoney abuse charges against her vitim AFTER she’s had him killed, for some people that’s enough to decide conclusively that the victim of that violent murder deserved exactly what he got. And apparently the fact that a jury of Donna’s peers, after actually listening to & carefully deliberating over the FACTS of the case, convicted her of murder means absolutely nothing. I suppose all the evidence against her should have been ignored completely because, after all, she did claim abuse. Plus her ridiculous version of events was even portrayed in a movie…therefore it MUST be true!!! And naturally the accounts from Dennis’s children about what really happened should be ignored too. Because clearly the unproven abuse ALLEGATIONS of a convicted murderer and the skewed viewpoint of some low budget, fictionalized film would obviously trump any and all, you know, real evidence. Oh, and of course unless one has been a victim of domestic violence herself, (which BTW I have) nobody has a right to defend any man who’s been accused of abuse…even when the abuse accusation comes from that man’s murderer and even when the accusation is only made posthumously. Following this logic, I guess the only fair trial Donna could ever get a fair trial was if her jury consisted of self-identified abuse victimes only.

    If this is truly the mindset of most American females nowadays, then I’m afraid our jury system is just doomed!

    Although I would never wish any actual harm on anyone, for those of you who are so eager to attack the memory of this murder victim, I do wish you knew what it felt like to lose a loved one, whether it be a brother, father or son etc. (whom you knew to be a good, decent man) in such a horrendous way, only to later find out that large numbers of random strangers are demonizing your loved one at every opportunity while staunchly defending the despicable piece of trash that killed him. I wonder how some of you would like to witness your beloved brother being attacked this way after he’d been needlessly slaughtered by a malicious liar. How do you think it’d feel, I wonder, to not only be forced to endure the violent & tragic loss of a brother who you love dearly but to also have to live with the knowledge that for years to come, your deceased relative will be continually (and falsely) labelled an abusive monster who in fact deserved not only to be violently murdered but also to BURN IN HELL. Like I said, I honestly don’t wish any of you harm, but I do wish to God you could know how truly hurtful it is to know that so many people choose to ignore the actual facts of a murder case and instead decide to emotionally buy into the murderer’s deceitful defense strategy, hook, line & sinker while continuously attempting to assaisnate the character of your loved one (a good man) who is no longer here to defend himself thanks to the very person you so ardently and irrationally choose to defend – i.e. his cold, calculating and criminally convicted killer. I really do wish some of you could know how devastating something like this feels. I suppose it’s my own fault for reading these things in the first place though.

    In any case, Merry Christmas to all.

    • Joanne,

      Do you know for a fact that her allegations of abuse are in fact false? Were you there in their home throughout their marriage? Many have verified these allegations. Plus, he is the only suspect in his first wife’s murder. Can you provide an alibi for him for that as well? Or is all of your information based on the movie? Because the movie is just based on the events, not an exact replica. If it was, it would show MORE abuse.

  45. mylifefcrime,

    No, obviously I did not spend every minute of my life with Dennis and Donna Yaklich. None of us here knows any of this stuff for a fact. I do know, however, that in order to be guilty of a crime, in this country at least, one is supposed to first be tried and convicted of that crime. Otherwise the law states that every person is presumed innocent. Dennis was never charged with a crime, therefore I presume his innocence. Donna was charged with a crime. She was also convicted by a jury of her peers, was she not? There’s no compelling reason for me to totally dismiss the work that those people on the jury did. Have they, as a group or individually, stated that they made a terrible mistake in convicting Donna? As far as I know they have not. And as far as those “many” people who have supposedly verified spousal abuse on Dennis’s part, have you asked them the same question…I mean did THEY live with Donna and Dennis? I don’t believe they did. From what I read and saw of them, the very few people who were called to back up Donna’s abuse claims made very poor witnesses at best, and none of them lived with the Yakliches. Dennis’s children however, did live with them, at least some of the time, and those children do wholeheartedly refute Donna’s allegations, and they also paint HER as the abusive one in that relationship. But of course their statements didn’t fit into the way the Lifetime TV producers wanted to skew their movie, so that part wasn’t mentioned in the fictionalized film at all. Therefore I guess there’s no reason to believe those kids, right? After all, they are only eyewitnesses…not professional TV writers. And to answer your next question: no, I cannot provide any alibi for Dennis as well. But why would I need to? As far as I know, he was never charged with a crime. Again, he was the victim of a crime, not the perpetrator. Or have the police officially labelled Dennis a suspect in the death of his first wife? I don’t believe they have. Come to think of it, was her death ever ruled a homicide? I don’t believe it was. So why is it that rumor and innuendo alone are enough for some people to declare Dennis Yaklich guilty of murder when, as far as the law is concerned, no murder even exists? By the same token, why is it that, after she has been tried & convicted (beyond a reasonable doubt) of Dennis’s killing by a group of upstanding members of her own community within a court of law, I, or anyone else, should be expected to view Donna as some sort of victim? Oh, that’s right, a Lifetime TV movie said she was only defending herself from her evil male abuser, so clearly she’s a heroine rather than a murderer! Nope, sorry, still not buying it.

    As far as your question about whether I based my opinions on the movie or not, I thought I made that pretty clear, but I’ll be glad to say it again. The movie is fiction. I do not believe it. Since it doesn’t accurately represent the facts & circumstances of this real life murder for hire case, I absolutely feel that nobody else should believe it either. The test of guilt in this country is supposed to involve evidence and a legal finding. This movie plays fast and loose with the entire story. I would urge anyone who has fallen into the trap of buying this phoney movie as “the truth” to go back and read through the trial transcripts completely. They contain the WHOLE story….not just the abuse scenario concoted by Donna’s legal advisors. And why not give some credence to what was said and is still being said by the only people who actually knew what was happening in the Yaklich household (Dennis’s kids) instead of automatically assuming the veracity of these abuse allegations? We know they were were made by a convicted murderer against her victim, after she had him killed. The fact that this scripted abuse scenario was depicted in a silly TV movie doesn’t make it true. And btw slimy TV producers just love this kind of story because they can skew their production any way they want…they can state outright that the character of Dennis Yaklich was an abuser, or a molester, or a neo-nazi, or antyhing else they want because legally one cannot libel the dead. They were free to sensationalize Dennis into utter absurdity if they chose to do so And they do chose. Obviously Donna isn’t likely to object to anything that makes her appear less guilty than she actually is so I’m sure she loved the movie too.

    As for your assertion that if the movie had been a “replica” of the Yaklich marriage, it would show MORE abuse than it did, where’s the evidence of that? Why is it that this supposed mountain of abuse committed by Dennis against his wife has never been proven in any way, shape or form? I’ve been through some domestic abuse myself. I know it’s often hidden, but at the same time there are almost always some signs, especially for a woman who stayed with her alleged abuser for this length of time. As others have mentioned, Donna was no prisoner…she had a very active life outside her home. Anyway I’ve see none of these signs of abuse while studying this particular case of murder for hire. What I see is a coldhearted killer who would do or say anything at all to avoid being convicted and going to jail for what she did. Further, do you really not find it a little too convenient that Donna didn’t come out publicy with her abuse allegations until LONG AFTER she’d had her husband murdered? I mean, beside a few members of Donna’s own family, who would probably lie to protect her (and I don’t blame them), Donna’s lawyers couldn’t find any good evidence to support her abuse claims. None. The allegations just don’t add up, and as a female it frankly annoys me to death to see that so many other females are unwilling to call a spade a spade when it comes to cold-blodded killers like Donna Yaklich. I grew up thinking that feminism was about judging males and females by the same standards…not about excusing the actions of any female who cries abuse during a murder trial in a pathetic attempt to avoid facing justice. I noticed this happening with the Mary Winkler trial as well. The consensus seemed to be that if any woman says she was abused, then SHE WAS ABUSED, any & all actual evidence to he contrary be damned. No further discussion is necessary apparently. My opinion about this may be “out there” but to me, excusing female criminals this easily is every bit as harmful as preventing females from getting certain jobs or educational opportunities. They’re tow sides of the same coin IMO because they place false limiaions on women in the eyes of the world.

    Nobody, man or woman, deserves what Dennis Yaklich got. It was a criminal act and there is absolutely no valid excuse for those involved in committing this crime. And let’s be honest, we all know that if were Dennis who had hired somebody to kill Donna, any attempt by him to justify his actions would only (and rightly) be laughed at. Will we never put an end to the glaring male/female double standard that exists in this country? Or even try?

    Lastly, of course people can believe whatever they want and I don’t normally have a problem with that at all, but like I said earlier, if anyone who’s been slamming this deceased in this case based on the fact that a fictionalized movie convinced them it was OK to do so, then I wish they’d think twice about what they’re doing. Because, again, if you had a loved one who’d been murdered in cold blood by a woman who later tried to use the abuse excuse in order to get away with her crime, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to see that loved one being publicly smeared like Dennis is being smeared. Honestly, I almosyt cried when I realized that Dennis’s kids might read these comments and see people rejoicing becuse that the man who they know as a loving father met such a horrible end, and some people even go so far as to speak of this murder victim’s burning in hell as a just reward. It’s just so sad to me that so many people ignore the facts and spew such vitriole about someone they know virtually nothing about…except of course what they saw in a fictionalized TV movie.

    • Yes, Joanne, Dennis was the victim of murder, I do agree with that. However, it appears that you do not believe any woman is the victim of domestic violence unless it is witnessed by another. Unfortunately, that is a fantasy. Most women (AND men) that are abused by a partner do not get help. Due to that, no one believes them. Just as you don’t believe Donna because you have personally not seen that evidence. From other things I have read (including emails from others around the situation), she was indeed abused by Dennis. I do not believe she should have had him killed however. But I DO believe she was abused. That is my opinion. Obviously you disagree. And you have your right to that opinion.

      But, I do remember reading that the first wife’s death was determined to be a homicide. And he is the only suspect.

      Please remember, most domestic violence victims go through a lot of denial and self-blame. I personally had an abusive relationship and never ever reported any abuse. And never would have admitted it to my family if my sister had not witnessed any of it. It is humiliating and very hard to deal with when you are the victim of domestic violence. Not everyone will react the same way.

      And I agree, many women claim abuse when it did not happen. But you cannot hold it against those who are truthful about it, or those who are still afraid of their abusive partners. There will not always be concrete evidence in a long term domestic violence relationship. And no, I do not believe every woman that claims abuse. Look at the Shellye Stark case. I do not believe she was abused by her husband as she claimed.

      However, no matter what I say, you will not remember that people have the right to disagree with you. Personally, I believe you are either related to Dennis or a friend of his. And that is fine.

  46. “However, it appears that you do not believe any woman is the victim of domestic violence unless it is witnessed by another. ”

    I’m sorry but that’s crazy talk! I do not believe any such thing, and if you’re interpreting anything I wrote to mean that, I’ sorry again but you are way off base. In fact I’m pretty sure I mentioned earlier that I myself had been involved in a domestic violence situation. I know that domestic violence is not something that’s often witnessed by large numbers of people, so I made a deliberate effort not to state or imply that establishing the existence of domestic violence requires that there be an eyewitness at the time the actual abuse occurs. I would NEVER say something like that…because I don’t believe that or feel that way.

    “Due to that, no one believes them. Just as you don’t believe Donna because you have personally not seen that evidence.”

    Whoa…hold the phones. I did not say that I don’t believe her because I have not “personally seen” the physical evidence of her abuse….only that after watching most of the trial, and after reading the entire court transcripts (plus everything else I could get my hands on involving this case) and after considering Donna’s specific claims carefully and logically, I could find no good reason to believe her. I did previously express my belief here that when there has been long term abuse, there are almost always signs of that abuse to be found. But in using the word “signs,” I was not necessarily alluding to visible bruises or scars. Signs of abuse also include certain patterns of behavior, along with many other things. You just have to know what to look for. I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on domestic abuse, but I have worked in the family court system for quite some time and have dealt with abuse victims as well as their abusers. I feel like I can read people fairly well, and on top of the natural skepticism I felt toward Donna’s story at first (considering the situation she was in when she aired her abuse allegations), she was just not believable to me in general. That being said, though, I have no problem with anyone else who actually took the time to examine all the evidence (as you seem to have done) and came to the subjective conclusion that Donna was indeed abused. I’ll happily agree to disagree on that subject.

    The main problem I had (and have) is that there are a lot of comments from people who clearly don’t know the facts of this case at all and who, based solely on what they saw in some ridiculous TV movie, are willing to declare “factually” that Dennis Yaklich, the murder victim, not only hit his wife but also deserves to have his grave metaphorically spat upon. I just feel it’s important to remember, as you yourself stated, this man was the *victim* of a violent crime. For that matter, Donna herself has also admitted publicly that what she did was absolutely wrong. If the person who orchestrated this whole murder plot in the first place is able to freely admit that Dennis Yaklich did not deserve what he got, then individuals who don’t even know the real facts of this case ought not to summarily condemn Dennis and curse his name as if he were another Hitler. Well, IMHO anyway.

    “And I agree, many women claim abuse when it did not happen. But you cannot hold it against those who are truthful about it, or those who are still afraid of their abusive partners.”

    Absolutely! I agree completely. But I don’t feel I’m holding anything against any woman who truthfully suffered such abuse. Quite the contrary, what I’m against is those women who DO falsely claim abuse in order to conveniently get away with their own criminal activities (and IMO Donna Yaklich and Mary Winkler are both prime examples of this type of person). Because I’m afraid that if enough false abuse claims are made in our courts, it’ll eventually foster an environment in which even the most serious victims of horrendous abuse will automatically be considered suspect….a la The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    “However, no matter what I say, you will not remember that people have the right to disagree with you. Personally, I believe you are either related to Dennis or a friend of his. And that is fine.”

    LOL it’s also fine if you want to believe that. Sorry, though, I am no friend or relative of Dennis Yaklich. However, I have experienced a similar situation to what his kids have gone through and are probably still going through. I can totally empathize with what they must be feeling because of what happened to my own family member. Actually, that’s why I got up on my soapbox to begin with! It’s like…I understand that some might believe Dennis was abusive, and that’s OK, but at this point the guy is dead! Isn’t that enough? Do we have to keep eviscerating his character in public where his kids can see it and be negatively affected by it?

    And you might be surprised by how many things I AM able to remember….one of those things being the fact that everyone has a perfect right to his or her opinion, If anything I wrote gave the impression that I’m against the concept of different people offering differing opinions, I apologize, because that’s really not how I feel or what I meant to convey. I didn’t say nobody was allowed to disagree with me. I didn’t even think it. It’s just that when I do strongly disagree with someone or something, I always try to explain my viewpoint thoroughly; to try to make it clear exactly WHY I disagree or feel the way I do. Perhaps this seems off-putting, or insulting to some folks. If so, I’m sorry. Spending too much time in the legal system can do funny things to your mind:)

    Anyway, I’ll shut up now. Thanks for the great blog and that eloquently expressed reply too!

    Wait, I almost forgot…are you sure that Barbara’s (Dennis’s first wife) death was declared a homicide? Because last I heard, they’d decided that her death was “suspicious” and only said that homicide “couldn’t be ruled out at this time.” If her death IS still officially labeled suspicious, I really doubt that the police have named Dennis or anyone else as a suspect or person-of-interest at this point. ‘Cause you can’t legally/officially blame a “suspicious death” on anyone….that only happenss if the death’s been ruled a homicide.

  47. I was in an abusive relationship but left after 3 years.
    It doesnt matter how bad the abusive before God there is no reason to kill someone unless in self defence.
    If she had the opportunity to leave she should have left and got as far away as possible.
    Life is not a rehearsal.
    She has paid for it now. Time for us all to move on.
    Hopefully, time will heal.

  48. There is so much evidence these days of what steroid abuse can do to someone….mentally and physically. Steroid rage is common with abusers. It is easy for anyone who is NOT in an abusive situation to say what they would do. But, unless you are actually in the situation, you do NOT know. Of course there is fiction in the movie….but there are elements of truth as well. I’m scared thinking about the lack of safety provided by the police because Dennis was an officer.

  49. can some one tell me where i may locate the movie other than on lifetime, i would like to watch the movie and try to determine my own thoughts about this horrible situation

  50. YES, I FEEL SORRY FOR DONNA, and of course she wouldn’t have let the bruises show to the family, that would have made him even angrier. When it comes to abuse it’s amazing what you will cover up out of fear. Unless you have lived it you don’t know. I am happy she was released and that she can somehow get her life back. As for the former wife, what exactly causes a death by not enough pottasium, that’s a new one for me. FYI

    • I am an RN, so I’ll jump in here. Lack of potassium OR too high, can indeed cause death if not treated. In both cases, it can cause the heart to beat irregularly. I don’t know for sure, but it sounds a bit to me, if this first wife was taking Lasix, either she had a blood pressure problem or was trying to lose weight by taking this medication in order to lose water weight gain. Just my 2 cents.

  51. Poor Donna…she just couldn’t win…that b—–d deserved to die…i was married to an abusive man (he abused me physically & emotionally) & i had the good fortune to be able to leave him because i know eventually he would have either injured me seriously or worse…i think Donna got a raw deal all the way around but i know one thing…i’m in her corner all the way…God bless you, Donna…

  52. I have read the comments and agree that no one knows what goes on in another’s house. My father was abusive to my mother and to some of us 7 kids (he had favorites for abuse). He was considered a pillar of the community, led the church choir and was active in the masonic lodge. When he was caught embezzling from his employer, everyone blamed mother and said she squandered his money. Ha! She worked full time as an executive secretary, had seven kids (because he refused to use birth control) sewed our clothes, cooked everything from scratch, raised vegetables, separated the milk from our milk cows, made cheese, etc., etc. I have never known anyone who worked as hard as she did. She was left with nothing but bills and 5 kids still at home. He absconded to another state, got a good job (he was a CPA), remarried, and rarely sent us anything. The child support he was ordered to pay came as $25. a few times a year-if then. We all worked and scraped by.
    I was the youngest and got my share of abuse before he left-things I still don’t talk about. He would have a fit when he didn’t get his way and beat one of us or threaten to kill himself. I remember as a 6 year old watching one of these episodes when my sisters were crying and begging him to put the gun down. I just thought, “Let him go, he is a coward and won’t do it.” I wouldn’t have been too sad if he had shot himself. We didn’t get any extra money from his embezzling that I could see. My older sisters think he had girlfriends which he probably did.
    I learned early to be careful when evaluating men. I took my time, got an education, and married one of the best. 47 years later we have wonderful children and grandchildren and enjoy a happy, healthy, life. I wish my mother could have had the life she deserved. She never talked him down to us but most of us were smart enough to know. One sister who was his favorite never saw it-you see what you want to see.

  53. He was a police officer. He can cover up anything that crooked bastard. He never let her go anywhere so how could anyone ever know she was abused. I am glad she is out. She should have never gone to jail.

  54. Everyone, you’re missing the point. The children who lived with them is stating there was no abuse (mentally or physically). THEY LIVED WITH THEM. If you want to go by the movie (which is a movie and as some of you say the Donna Yaklich story), if you’re going by this movie and what ‘Donna’ supposedly has said, it shows the daughter is afraid of the father as well. That is not the case according to Vanessa Yaklich (the daughter).
    It appears that many who are in favor of what Donna did are quoting their own personal experiences with abuse, this is not your story. Just because it happened to you or someone in your family or even your friend, doesn’t mean the same thing or similar happened in this case.
    Yes, spousal abuse is real and does occur, but very seldom is it at the point where the children (who live in the home) doesn’t see or hear it.
    I, like many of you, felt sorry and could relate to Donna UNTIL I dug deeper and found the article by the daughter. I, as many of you, was taken in by the tv story (and who wouldn’t be if you didn’t know the rest of the story). The movie is quite compelling.
    I just find it very very difficult to believe that the children would lie (and I’m talking primarily about the older daughter who is depicted in the movie as being terrified of her father).
    I had a similar situation, my step-mother was in an abusive relationship with my father and he could be nice and turn in a heartbeat. Although, he never hit me once, I heard so much through the walls and if I wasn’t there when it occurred, I would see the bruises on my step-mom. And IF something like this would have occurred with her, you best believe I would speak in her defense. Even against my deceased father. Because, I felt so sorry for her, but I was a child myself and nothing I could do but stay out of the way.
    Ok, off my soapbox.
    My main point, is to listen to the children.

  55. I would just like to say that i believe Donna Y

    I was in a marriage for 4 yrs with a man that was angry with the world cause he only had the use of one hand so he took it out on the ones that was able to do things that he could not do. The one good thing that came out of the marriage was my beautiful daughter.

    When him and i first got together he was sweet and kind and courted me with respect and kindness and then shortly after the wedding he started to hit and call me every bad name he could think of. This man also had epolepsy adn often did not take his meds so he could get the attention that he thought he deserved for being handicapped, and i want to say that not all hadicapped people are like this.

    Shortly after our wedding his mom was diagnosed with overian cancer and was only given 6 months to a year to live and lived for 3 years with this cancer until she passed from it and at the time of her passing he accused me of killing her and burnt me with a cig on my face.

    The only reason that i was able to get out of this marriage was cause the state steped in and said that it was that either i stay with him and have my baby taken away or leave and go through some parenting classes to keep her. So to me that was a no brain i got out cause they helped me as well as a wonderful man that i meet one night at the news paper office in my home town and him and i have been married for 12 years now and he also thinks of my little girl as his own even though him and i do not have our own children toghether.

    And as far as my daughter goes she does not want anything to do with her real dad cause he abused me and cause he says things that he does not keep

  56. I’ve ready so many responses on how she should have jsut walked away. That is not always an option. In 1986 my mother tried to walk away and she ended up with a bullet in her head and me and my brother in limbo because she tried to just leave. It doesn’t always work that way. Abuse is a horrible thing and tears families and lives apart. So don’t feel sorry for the man that clearly needed help and choose to smack and hit her. She tried to leave and that didn’t work. Whats worse is he is a policeman and was suppose to be offering protection for that community but his own family didn’t feel protected because of his mistakes. She may not have been the right person to take his life and punish him, but she sounds like a women on the verge of losing it. And its amazing what a woman would do for her children. I look at pictures of my mother and know she walked away to protect us children and her life ended way to soon. And although its been 24 years the pain still lingers. So don’t judge people because of your situation when clearly every situation is different.

  57. People certainly are entitled to their opinions and God knows many have been shared on this blog.

    My MEMORIES of growing up in the Yaklich household are nothing that parallel Donna’s story of events. I am Vanessa, the daughter of Dennis and step-daughter of Donna. The level of ignorance associated with many of these comments has provoked me to respond. Those of you who have actually taken the time to RESEARCH the facts and arrive at a fair conclusion, thank you. For those of you who have asked for my father to burn in hell based solely on the fictitious movie and lies of a murderess, please look at the evidence.

    Donna was NEVER removed by my father from a battered women’s shelter because she was NEVER admitted to one. Approximately 1.5 years prior to my dad’s death Donna left my dad for one day. She embezzled $70,000 from my paternal grandparent’s bank account. My grandparents were going to tell my father about this. Donna packed her bags that night, telling me and my brother Chris that the marriage was over because my dad was going to find out she stole this money. She wrote my dad a letter, left in on the kitchen counter, and proceeded to leave some time during the middle of the night, taking my little brother with her. Later that morning, my two older brothers took me to our grandparent’s home. Hours later my dad woke up, read the letter, and rushed to us. He called Donna at her sister Susie’s house and told her they could work through this. He drove me to Susie’s and Donna and Dennis Jr. followed us back home in her car. Donna ended up going to work at Pay ‘n’ Pak and this money was supposed to help reimburse my grandparents, but the money never made it to them. Instead, she kept the money and my grandparents were never repaid. Donna did, however end up having an affair with her boss.

    Six weeks before my father was brutally gunned down in front of our home the day before by little brother’s sixth birthday, Donna attended a training in Denver for her job (2 1/2 hours away). It was during this time that Eddie Greenwell, the hired hitman, was to kill my father, providing Donna with an alibi. Instead, Eddie back out, giving dad’s loved ones a few more weeks with him. As testified to in court, Donna knocked on the door of a man she met at the training. They had sex, then she called home only to have my dad answer the phone. Donna went enraged, yelling, for no apparent reason. Well, during her trial the events became clear. She planned on calling home and one of us answering the phone telling her dad had been killed. People, when you consider this fact, Donna was having sex with a stranger during the moment my father was supposed to be murdered.

    I am truly appaled that anyone would sympathize with another person who has destroyed so many lives. My father was a good man. I was 11 years old when my father died; certainly old enough to know what happens behind closed doors. I NEVER witnessed abuse, I NEVER saw bruises, cuts, or any evidence of abuse. Donna never sought medical treatment because she never had to. My father was 6′ 4 1/2, 280 pounds. Had he ever laid a hand on her, we would have known. In response to his alleged steroid use, the only substance found in his system was caffeine. Had he been using steroids these would have been found in his system during his autopsy. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the type of steroid my stepmom accused by dad of using stays in one’s system for at least a year.

    Donna was not controlled. She stole money from my grandparents, had her own savings/checking accounts, her own car. She was free to come and go as she pleased. How else could she have had an affair with her boss? Donna taught aerobics four days a week…My God, if my father hurt her, we all would have seen it. She dressed provocatively, had several substantiated affairs on my father, planned his death for more than a year, and did not speak of abuse until her second trial and fourth attorney!

    Donna was not arrested at the Peacock Lounge, no! She was arrested at the Denver Airport by police when she tried to quietly re-enter the country from a vacation she took with her lover less than two months after my dad’s passing.

    In regard to my mother’s death, yes a significant drop in pottassium can lead to cardiac arrest. My brother, Chris, who was 9 years old when our mother died, had been talking to her when she collapsed on the bed. Our dad was in the shower and my other brother was downstairs eating breakfast. Chris ran to get dad from the shower who immediately began CPR. My father requested an autopsy be performed as he wanted to know how a 34 year old ends up deceased. Do you think he would have wanted an autopsy if he was the one responsible for her death? Highly unlikely. There was no sign of physical trauma to my mom…no bruises, no broken bones, nothing to indicate that any abuse occurred. During the investigation into her death in 2006, the investigators told me they interviewed more than 30 people who knew both my parents and NOT ONE of them ever suspected or feared she was being abused. These are the details that people tend to leave out. Oh, and not to forget that two independent medical examiner’s reviewed mom’s original autopsy and both of them say that mom’s death was neither suspicious or the result of homicide. They agree with the original coroner’s ruling that mom’s use of Lasix led to a potassium deficiency which led to cardiac arrest. Lasix is a water pill that was used in the ’70s as a diet pill. Mom was under a doctor’s care for the potassium issue, was prescribed potassium, but did not take it. This eventually caused her death. Now, two other medical examiner’s reviewed the same evidence and cited that the death was suspicious. Of course, the only opinions the public is introduced to are those that place my stepmother in a positive light and make my father look suspicious. This, in and of itself, is wrong. My father continues to be persecuted, yet he never committed a crime.

    After the death of my mother, dad was left to raise four children. I was 2; my sister 13, Ray 11, and Chris 9. My sister and two brothers CHOSE to live with dad and not to reside with their paternal relatives who filed for custody. My dad asked them if they wanted to live with their paternal family or with him. As a result of their desire to live with dad, he filed for custody and was awarded such.

    Again, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but please seek out the facts before you make such harsh judgements. I am a very private person, but it hurts me that anyone would believe my father “deserved” what happened. I know she had him killed for his insurance money. I know they were divorcing after the holidays. My dad died December 12, 1985. When Eddie Greenwell testified in court, he stated that Donna was desperate to have dad killed by the end of the year. Does this not make sense to you people? Donna told me in October that dad asked for a divorce and would file after the new year because he “wanted us to have nice holidays.” Donna was desperate to have him killed; not to protect herself, rather to profit from his death. It would have looked too suspicious after divorce papers were filed.

  58. Some say Dennis was kind and nice. Sure he was while NOT on the steroids. “Vanessa” should not be on any message boards pleading her step-father’s case.Especially if it upsets her so badly. She needs to get copies of the news articles that talked about his crazed and callous behavior on the job. He thought he was Superman whiile on his drugs. ONLY death could stop him. Cops lie for each other all the time. No one should have to live their life in fear. This man was a bully who had killed one wife, and would have killed a second one.

  59. This movie was really good. I am glad Donna is out too. I hate the ending when she says a man that kills his wife gets less of a prison sentence. I am a very devought feminist and it bugs the hell out of me how women are abused by men in so many different ways. There are all different kinds of abuse. The one thing I’d like to comment on is, why didn’t the guy testify the one that saw Donna with her black eye and also why wasn’t the woman that helped her in her support group that he stole her from offer to help her and testify saying Donna tried to get help and he insisted on taking her with. That poor lady and the sad thing is there are many more like her in prison that we don’t hear about=( May this movie enrich our hearts to help women like Donna and to have the courage to report a man if he hurts us so he has a record. And may that information be known!

  60. Having been a victim of domestic violence, it would be easy for me to side with Donna, but I cannot do that in this situation.

    I was a little girl at the time when this happened and knew Dennis as the gentle giant he was. He always checked in with my mother and grandmother at their place of business to make sure they were safe as they had to work late evenings. He cared about people.

    As Vanessa said above, there was no mention of ANY abuse until a second trial and several attorneys later.

    For all of you to judge someone, whether it be Dennis or Donna, based on a movie out of Hollywood, is ridiculous. (Jaclyn Smith is said to be remorseful for having made the movie without knowing both sides). With where I work at, I’ve seen Donna while in the prison setting and in the courtroom setting and I can tell you, she is not the little waif that the movie made her out to be. She made it perfectly clear when she plotted out Dennis’ death by doing a “murder for hire” scenario that it was about the money. If he filed for divorce after the holidays, she would lose everything and she knew it and premediated his murder.

    To the person stating that “Vanessa should not be on any message boards pleading her step-father’s case. Especially if it upsets her so badly.” Shame on you. Why should she not be allowed to voice her opinion along side yours. She has more of the facts than anyone here. She lived this and will continue living it the rest of her life. She is one of the only people that can truly state what happened in that house. I tend to believe someone that lived in the house at the time this alleged abuse was all supposedly occuring.

    If someone is in a violent relationship, like what I was at one time, REPORT IT! There are so many victim advocate groups available to assist and get you out of it. Do not take matters into your own hands. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

  61. In addition to my post above, which I neglected to include, when I wrote that Vanessa was one of the people that can truly state what happened in that house since she lived there, yes Donna lived there too and should be able to tell her story, but remember Vanessa was 11 years old at the time of Dennis’ death and had no monetary agenda. Donna was all about the money then and continues to profit today from Dennis’ death.

  62. STurner, IF in fact you were a victim of domestic violence, you SHOULD HAVE SOME INSIGHT on that topic. If so, and you’re honest about it you’ll realize abusers do not necessarily ABUSE everyone they know or come in contact with. He was nice to YOUR grandparents? Great! Good thing he was not married to anyone in YOUR family. YES I did say that about Vanessa. Mainly because if she does not find a positive and effective way to move on, the rest of her life will suffer. The people in her life who she loves, and love her will suffer. NOBODY knows what actually takes place between a husband and wife, except that husband and wife. Having worked with male and female abuse victims, I realize there are always other victims if only after the fact. So I still say, for her own mental health and well being, I pray to GOD Vanessa is able to possibly seek counseling if needed. Or whatever she needs to do to be able to live a healthy and non-dwelling life, in regards to this matter. Keep in mind, it’s not like Donna got off scott free. She did do some time. Maybe you feel she should be doing more time. But without a doubt she did suffer from SOME form of abuse at the hands of her husband. Different people often react differently. Maybe she did not handle it in the best possible way. They both ended up paying in the end. Regardless of the severity of their payment, many lives have been touched by this incident. ALSO, IF DONNA STOLE MONEY FROM ANYONE IN THIS MATTER, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE A POINT OF PUBLIC RECORD AND PART OF THE PROSECUTION’S CASE IN ESTABLISHING MOTIVE. HIGHLY UNLIKELY ABUSE WAS NOT PART OF THE ORIGINAL CASE, OR OTHERWISE SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY ON ALL ACCOUNTS. LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELF, AND INVESTIGATE ON YOUR OWN IF NEED BE. DO NOT JUST TAKE THE WORD OF ANOTHER. SHOW SOME INTELLECT.

  63. Was Donna abused or not? It’s about time we change the question from: Why didn’t she leave? To: Why doesn’t he stop? I was not in Donna’s situation … As a tiny child I was seriously beaten by an older sibling. My world was terror. My abuser told me not to bother going for help; my parents would never believe me (they didn’t) and that I would be beaten twice as harshly (I was). My parents minimized and rationalized since this was something that “all kids do”. . My abuser came up with a secret facial gesture, a subtle reminder I was living on borrowed time. The sick fear was much worse than the physical pain. At some point the abuse turned sexual – and that went on for many years. I only disclosed the sexual abuse after another child came forward. His mom didn’t want him traumatized further so she never went to the police. My family swears that I made this all up (For what purpose? I have nothing to gain). In order to survive family violence, one must make friends with denial. You see, Dennis might have been a loving father AND an abusive spouse. Let’s not forget Susan Stills’ situation – her husband forced their son to videotape while he abused, beat and degraded his wife. If I can impart ANYTHING to those who read this post it is this: Donna may not have been a saint. Dennis might have been a doting dad. None of this means that abuse never happened. Most of us, when hearing a story like this, try to put ourselves in the shoes of the victim. That is what good, empathetic people do. It is impossible to IMAGINE what it is like to live in terror. We don’t want to believe that a man would do this to someone he loves. Even those who live with it often deny its existence. Vanessa’s claims are not surprising. I am estranged from my family. When asked, my siblings – who witnessed the beatings – claim it never happened. We all deal with our past differently. Vanessa likely lives with survivor’s guilt and anger that her father was taken away from her. Don’t forget, Donna came in and took Dennis away from Vanessa by marrying him. Interestingly enough, while decrying the movie’s portrayal of Donna and Dennis, Vanessa paints a mirror image where Donna is the stereotypically evil stepmother (she has nothing good to say about Donna) and Dennis is a saintly father. I’m sure that neither is accurate. Only Donna and Dennis know the truth. While it is NOT for is to know what happened, let’s learn from this tragedy. Domestic abuse is very real and far too common. Can we just agree to not turn away when we see it? Don’t force these women into a situation where they feel they have no where to turn. If you can, provide support. Listen, don’t judge. Support shelters and organizations that provide outreach. Imagine how different things could be if kids were not raised in homes where violence is the norm. My life would have been very different if just ONE PERSON had come forward. Let’s bring these dirty family secrets out into the open bc these are the kinds of secrets that destroy lives.

  64. For people who have a desire to know more about themselves, why they chose to be born and what actually happens after they leave this world, please read “Journey of Souls” by Dr. Michael Newton, who holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology and is a certified Master Hypnotherapist.

    This book will explain a great deal about why people do the things in their lives that seem incomprehensible to others. Dr. Newton has an international reputation as a spiritual regressionist, and he has appeared on numerous national radio and TV talk shows to explain our immortal life in the spirit world.

    This is not an ad for him or the book, but I found the information very helpful in trying to understand life after my Mother passed on.

  65. I saw the movie last night and immediately researched it. I saw a lot of inconsistencies and thought to myself this is just hollywood. I can empathized with Donna, and at the same time with the kids. Maybe Dennis didn’t show the abusive side to his kids, my brother-in-law hid it well for a long time. Donna was no angel but she didn’t deserved the abuse.

    My sister was in an abusive relationship for 17 years before we found out. She always had bruises but claimed she fell or walked into to something. He threatened to kill her if she leave. Her children are brainwashed by their dad. It is so sad because she wasted her entire youth on this man. She is still with him after 25 years of abuse…she can’t let go. She is soooo scared of him. We dont understand why she’d still there. We have tried to help in many ways but its like she is just stuck with him. We pray everyday that we dont get that phone call. Please pray for her to get out alive. Thanks.

  66. when was she released and where it is she now?

  67. I saw that movies too! I am not here to judge but I am too a little confused! First of all my heart goes out to both family. I want to say to Vanessa, you live there but say you never seen any abused ok, it might because she cover her face. I wish you and Donna sit and talk about what’s really happen and talk to those police and see if he was doing drug. Don’t go around think this n that because he might didn’t want you all (the children) know what he was really doing. Try not to get upset but try to find the whole story. Donna should be able to admit it if she stole your grandparent’s money. All I can say just because she did it don’t mean you know the whole story at the age of 11. You got to remember that they was hiding something. Go and try to make something out of it or just move on but don’t hate her. Love yourself and focus yourself and kids.

  68. I have to agree with those who feel for the children!! Yes we don’t know what went on behind closed doors but the children who have lost both their parents don’t need for all you people to talk about their father this way!! Yes only Donna and Dennis know what really went on in their relationship.. And we all can have our opinions but we all need to realize that we are outsiders and have no right to condemn these children’s father!! They all need peace so let’s not all hoot and holler for the women who like many of you have said ” we don’t know what happened behind closed doors” so don’t assume what she has said is all facts!!!

  69. The asshole investigators that put this woman thru trial and prison are just as guilty as the man who abused the woman,,
    therfore those involved in this case whom are still alive need to be charged, and put to a slow painfull death for the wrongfull conviction because the corrupt cops in the united states are to chicken shit to take responsability for there actions…

    therefore if a cop is corrupt, then he needs to die by hanging or by a fireing squad using 60 caliber machine guns

  70. I just saw the movie again. If it’s very close to what really happened it showed where she tried to get out a couple of times. Then he would go and find her and bring her back home. I agree that this should have never had happened. She should have taken care of this matter herself. As it was she had gotten a harder sentence than she should have and lost many, many years with her son. Years that she’ll never get back. I know that wives are suppose to be submissive to their husbands, but it’s men like this that makes it harder and harder for that to be realistic. Some men have taken this power and let it go to their heads. They view women as their property. We wonder why the divorce rate is getting so high.
    I just hope that Donna is out of prison and the halfway house. Also, that she is now enjoying a relationship with her son and hopefully grandkids.

  71. I watched the movie, it does go with her story. They children did loss their father and mother which is hard for any child. I did do some research and read everyone posts.
    For me being abuse and my life threaten for many years. years later I found out my son remembered the beating I was getting. I did try to leave, but he found me in a different state where I did not have any family members. I thought about killing him myself but my kids came to my mind. I did have the knife in my hand and than put it down. I really got a beating that night. I could not even move my arm. The cops did not do anything when I did try to report it. He had me followed all the time. He took my youngest son from me but I did finally got him back. Today our son does not have anything to do with him because his father cuts him down to his face and my other son told him about the beatings. I feel that a child will find out about their father later in live. He did try at one time to have a relationship with him even thou he knew about the beatings. He did ask his father why he did that to me and his dad just denied ever doing that.
    The main thing some kids do remember what has happened and some do not remember any of it. It does take time for a child to remember any of it. I know that for a fact because I was raped by my grandfather when I was young and it took some time for me to remember everything that has happened to me.
    For Dennis kids I do feel for them cause I do for my kids. They will have memories of their father and may not remember the other stuff.
    For Donna I feel for her because she did try to leave and he made her come back. I know that feeling. I think she did serve her time for the crime. She could have done it different but women do not realize what to do living in terror.
    People see a lot of movies with abusive relationships but people really need to hear both sides of the story.
    Some of the post knew both parties and they really do not know what he was like behind closed doors. They would be kind around people but at home he could be different. I lived that.
    Best of luck to all of the children that lost both parents at a young age.

  72. if you watch lifetime movies,they are nothing like the real life situations,they are hollywood people spicing up the story.people on here are just getting their information from a one sided movie.i believe what the daughter says to be the truth

  73. It’s amazing to see how many people feel the need to crucify someone based on theatrical movie. This particular movie is one sided.. As a Law Enforcement Supervisor, I would never allow any of my fellow officers to abuse a woman or child. So you all need to stop with the repercussion theories. Perhaps Donna isn’t as innocent as you all think! Unless you were there, stop passing judgement. If she had time to plan a murder, she had time to plan an escape. Instead she hired brothers to commit murder. Which, by the way, is a Felony!!!! If she was so abused, she should have picked up a gun herself . Rest in Peace, brother Dennis!

    • CAS,

      As a Law Enforcement Supervisor, you should know better than to judge an abuse victim. You want people to stop passing judgement on Dennis (even though he is also a suspect in his first wife’s murder) and you nonchalantly act as though Donna could not have possibly been abused by Dennis because she did not shoot him or plan an escape. Shame on you! Do you tell all abuse victims this? Not every abuse victim will come forward until it is too late. Look at Francine Hughes. And there are many others like her. Take your own advice and stop passing judgement unless you were there. For me, I usually side only with the victim (the dead victim) but in this case, I am cautious. I DO believe that Donna was abused. She did not make good choices, but she paid her debt to society for what she did AND what was done to her. I am sorry, but I do not find Dennis to be a sympathetic victim. But that is my opinion and mine alone.

  74. You all are saying you feel sorry for Dennis or Donna.What about the children?That’s who I feel sorry for.

      • It is so interesting to read people’s reactions to the Dennis, Barbara & Donna Yaklich story. I was having a moment, like I always do, as I just came back from Pueblo from visiting my mom’s grave, Barbara. I am her oldest daughter and I thank god every day that I had her in my life for 12 years. I have never spoken out or given interviews about Donna or Dennis, but when it comes to my mom I just can’t stand by any longer. I understand my sister Vanessa’s point, but she saw nothing but a loving & caring father in Dennis, unfortunately I saw something else. My point, not to be rude, I really don’t care about anyone but my mom. Barbara was the most beautiful, loving, caring, gracious women in the world and she was taken way too young. She left behind 4 children, she missed out on the opportunity to be a part of my 3 children’s lives, she missed out on the best times of her life. Unfortunately I don’t have all those warm and fuzzy feelings Vanessa does. Vanessa did not sleep every night with her mom, but guess what, I did? Dennis did not sleep with his wives, so I shared a bed with my mom. I would never change those memories; some of the best memories were shared with mom and some of the worst memories. I was only 12 when mom died but I have a mind full of horrible memories, memories of my mom crying, telling Dennis to please stop as he was hurting her. I could hear my mom running into the bathroom and locking the doors and Dennis pounding at them. I remember my mom showing me bruises on her where he had hit her. What Vanessa does not realize is that yes, mom was taking lasix…..she was always belittled by Dennis as he would always tell her she was fat and ugly and that she was lucky to have a man like him want her….especially with her baggage. How sad……my mom was beautiful inside and out and he never appreciated her for what she was. Vanessa mentions that Donna was never in a battered shelter for woman, again incorrect. I found out about the incident not from Donna but from Dennis. We kept in contact, kind of funny that we did but we did. He had called me to inform me that they had a little altercation and that she took off and he was going to get her and wanted me to watch Vanessa and Dennis. Imagine that, Dennis always had me my watch my sister and brother because he didn’t trust his own family to watch them. So if he had to work early and go to court he called me to watch them instead of his family. Another fact that Vanessa has no business stating is that I and my two bothers chose to stay with Dennis….so far from the truth. The day my mom died we woke up early so she could do my hair. My mom was the type of mom that every holiday I would get a new outfit. Well this outfit was a pair of denim overalls and the bib had a big glitter heart on it. I was so excited because my mom never let my wear jeans to school. I thought I was in heaven!!! Well the night before she put my hair in sponge curlers…OMG… hair was out of control and I was so upset. She told me, turn around Kim so that I can look at you….I wouldn’t even turn around because I was so upset with my hair. She kept telling me that I was her beautiful baby and I was being such a brat to her. She told she was going make valentine cookies and we would have a special dinner. She told me she loved but all I did was walk out the door to catch the bus. MY MOM WAS JUST FINE THAT MORNING……SHE WAS JUST FINE…..IF I THOUGHT ANYTHING WAS WRONG WITH I WOULD OF NEVER EVER LEFT HER!!!!!!! Remember Vanessa I SLEPT WITH MOM, I knew her better than anyone! I knew when my mom needed me… so many times when she would have to get up in the middle of the night when Dennis would come home I would watch her put perfume on and her lipstick. Wasn’t sure why, but always did. I would always wake up when she left the bed and that is when I would hear what was going on when they were fighting. When my mom finally came back to bed with me…..she would hold me so tight and cry and cry. She told me when I grow up don’t make mistakes like I did. At that time I didn’t understand what was going on… was only as I grew up I understood exactly was going on. I can remember an incident when we were all together and mom rolled up one her blouse sleeves and told Dennis, see what you do to me and we all show the bruise. I think maybe at the end my mom was getting a little bold. So the day my mom died I was at school and the neighbors had come to school to pick me up. Once I saw them I asked what was going on, all they told me was that I needed to get home. As we were driving I got a sick sick feeling that something terrible had happened to my mom. They did not take me to my house they took me to my step grandparents…as soon as I got out of the car my step grandma came out crying hysterically….I knew then my mom was gone. I went in her house and sat on the couch and cried hysterically…..I wanted my mom so bad, how could I live without her. A time later Dennis walked in the house and came over to where I was sitting and touched my shoulder… that moment as I looked at him and the way the touch felt to me I knew he killed my mom. I cannot explain why I had those feelings but I did….his look and I couldn’t stand his touch. Shortly after that my biological aunt and uncles came to get us. I wanted to go with them but Dennis physically threw them out of the house. I sat there and watched him physically throw them out. What happened on the custody hearing was Dennis, the judge and my two brothers went into a room, all of us were there in one room together, Dennis never left the room and the judge asked me if I wanted to stay with Dennis or go somewhere else. I knew if I said I didn’t want to stay with Dennis he would hurt my family, so I knew life would be easier just to stay with him. I said yes but now as I am older, I know why Dennis was in chambers with us….if he wasn’t in there I would have told the judge I wanted to go with my dad’s family. Dennis did not want to give us up because we brought in money each month that he needed to live and support his life style. Vanessa states that Dennis asked if we wanted to live with my dad’s family, what a joke. That was never asked; my dad’s family still to this day has so much guilt for what we went through…they hated Dennis for keeping us away from them. I had to sneak to call them because if I got caught I would be in trouble. Dennis would never let us spend time with them. I remember a time that we got to spend a day with them, it was a wonderful day. When they took us home I started crying because I didn’t want them to leave me. After they left Dennis drilled me and drilled me and wanted to know what they asked me, what I told them and why I would be crying. How could I tell him that I hated him and wanted to leave? I felt trapped and I always went along with what he said because I didn’t want to get in trouble or my brothers to get in trouble. Vanessa doesn’t remember the times that I and my brothers were told that we were worthless because we didn’t have Yaklich blood in us. When our grandfather died, me and my brothers spent time with them during the funeral and rosary….when we came home we were sat down by Dennis and told that we each had three chances to live in that house and by us spending time with my dad’s family we each lost our first chance……wow what kind of love does that show! The sad part about this is that me and my sister tried to reconnect she wanted to learn more about mom as she was so young when she died. We agreed to meet for dinner but I told that I was not going to hold anything back. I would speak the truth about what I knew, but after all that she still doesn’t believe me. I guess she only believes her dad and she can’t or won’t believe the facts that he physically and mentally abused her mom. I have nothing to gain by stating the facts, honestly, like Vanessa; I will do everything in power to spread the word that a woman was taken by the hands of her husband….MY MOM!! What readers need to realize is, why was I not allowed to talk about my mom’s death in Donna’s trials? I was informed my both the prosecution and defense that if I mentioned my mom in the trial, that would cause an automatic misstrial…..interesting??? I have nothing but hatred towards Dennis for taking my mom. My life is so filled with sadness, even after all these years; there is not a day that my heart aches for my mom. Thank you for this time to vent, maybe this will help me heal. I have to stop now, as I can go on forever!

        • Kim,
          Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have really moved me this morning, something I really needed. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. I do understand how that I feel. Take care. 🙂

          • I was married to an abuser, lived in the house with 2 kids and they didn’t know. In fact nobody did until it was almost too late. I was ashamed. This man that I married stripped me of my confidence, my ability to think straight etc. So for all of those non-believers that think that because it happens on the inside someone on the outside will know, You are in la-la land! I covered my bruises with long sleeves, wore sunglasses and kept to myself. I didn’t even go around family or people that I used to. He beat me, rapes me and i started sleeping with my clothes on. Then i got the point that I wanted to kill him or kill myself. One night I asked God to help me and when I got up the next morning, I had strength that i had forgotten that I had. i finally called the police. Abuse is never alright. If you are married to some who does it to you, plan your departure for when they aren’t there. He finally went to jail, and my testimony put him there! This clean cut, nice guy that everyone would have never thought did this type of thing.

        • I am so sorry for your loss of your mother. I am also so sorry – you had to live a life with such a violent and abusive person. Your story will bring awareness to many woman – that are going through the same abuse. Hopefully, they will seek help – to get away from these evil predators! I hate to say it… but, Dennis got exactly what he deserved! He was beyond abusive, controlling and mean. He was pure evil – to do what he did to your Mom, you kids and Donna. I am sure he is burning in hell for what he did and that’s exactly where he belongs – in Hell!! Sorry Vanessa!

  75. I was married to a police lieutenant for 5 years and I was abused horrendously by him and so was our daughter. I,too, went to the police for help and was told they wouldn’t do anything because he was a supervisor. They refused to get involved. He told me he would kill me or have me killed if I tried to leave him. He pulled a gun on me one morning and stuck it to my head with his finger on the trigger. I finally decided it was better to run and take my chances. I did. I am still alive but suffer post traumatic stress disorder and so does my daughter. Most cops are very miserable and mentally sick human beings.

  76. If he was truly like that to her and after repeated attempts to get away and no one would help her. Then sorry… but, that evil piece of crap deserved what he got!!

  77. As someone who was abused, and left the abuser, and having seen the movie, in addition to reading court transcripts, articles, and doing other research into the case, I can say that Donna had options other than having Dennis killed. She could have gone to another jurisdiction if needed and gotten a restraining order, filed for a legal separation, if not a full dissolution or divorce, which Dennis was planning to do after the holidays, or simply left with her son, going on the run, using whatever legal means she could to escape, if she thought she needed to get out. However, she did NOT need to have him killed. When I left my abuser, I called the police, had him removed for the night, packed my things, and left on the first bus I could get to a shelter. I filed for a restraining order. His mother found out, and called to threaten my life on not only her own behalf, but her son’s as well, leaving the threat on my voicemail, which I played at the hearing. My restraining order was finalized, and he stays away from me. I know some women can’t leave. I also know there are always options other than murder.

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