Silence Is Violence

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Widow of Jose A. Vazquez

Date: Thu, Jul. 09, 2009

They say the death of a loved one gets better as time goes by but I disagree with that statement. Nothing is better about losing a loved one by any means but you learn to deal with it as each day goes on. You never stop loving that person or thinking of them. Holidays, special days, memories, etc are always in your heart and you need to chose to cherish the memories of that person and not the way that person left this earth.

Another statement I have a hard time understanding or even accepting is when people tell you that your loved one is in a better place and is no longer hurting. Call me selfish but I would rather my husband here with our family and friends. He wasn't sick or dying, he was murdered by someone who made the choice to take his life for that person's own selfish needs. My husband may not be hurting anymore but he sure suffered a long and hard battle with the perpetrator before he lost his life.

I am the widow of Jose' A Vazquez who was murdered on July 11, 2003. It will be 6 years this Saturday that he lost his life. I have lived a life of emotions, which has felt like a never ending rollercoaster ride. I have learned so much through the criminal system that I never thought I would have to and my heart goes out to anyone who is in the same scenario as I. It is not a place we ever want to end up in or having to deal with. It is a tremendous eye opener for all who experience the stages of emotions and the process of the criminal system in New Orleans. I sit back and wonder why the process has been so slow for my husband's case but I look back now and see the DA's office with little help and focus, no real guidance for the victim's survivors, and promises that were never kept. I know I didn't keep quiet and would always go to the very top to get answers but you never knew who would stay and who would go. I have been through many ADA's, assigned to different investigators, etc. After Katrina, things were worse than before and I thought it was bad before. After 13th attempts at a trial, DA Cannizzaro made it happen for us and we had our first degree capital crime murder trial eligible for the death penalty this past March. Unfortunately we ended in a hung jury but things have begun to change in the new administration.

I have heard comments from people that wonder why all of a sudden these older cases are going to trial now that Cannizzaro has become the new DA. I see it from my experience with his new administration that he isn't going to sit around and let these cases become older, have the chance of losing evidence and witnesses, and to get justice for the survivors. But in the previous administration cases did sit and were pushed around but never given the opportunity to go in front of a judge and jury. If we don't get the older cases tried, some of the accused are out on bail and can become repeat offenders, cases are lost, people give up, evidence is misplaced or tampered with, and the list goes on. I believe the new administration is doing their best in picking up the pieces and cleaning up the mess to begin to help turn this city around. It may take them time but you have to give them the credit of trying because I never saw that before.

This city needs a lot of help from all aspects and we need to convict the criminals and put them away so they understand that they are not on a free ride anymore. If you do the crime, then they must do the time. If the new administration gets a handle on these cases and makes a move forward, you may see crime decrease some as the criminals may realize that prison may be a reality for them. As for the cold cases we have unsolved, those cases need to be prioritized as some of those may be tied to the same person, or someone who committed a crime and got away with it may be repeating another and so forth. DNA recovered may be able to prevent future crimes from happening. It could be a huge impact of the crime rate if we can stop criminals before they continue down a path of destruction.

For everyone out there who lost a loved one, we are all one big family. We understand the pain and the sadness that comes with the loss that only someone who experiences it can truly understand. Know we have organizations such as Silence is Violence and Victims and Citizens Against Crime who will support us with anything we need as they would also like to put an end to our increasing crime rate. To my husband, may you rest in peace knowing that your family loves you and we are fighting very hard for justice. This past March may not have been our time but we will never give up. Cannizzaro has promised me that too! We will get justice as a city! XOXO