Becky...Cont.from pg 9
jacked a round in the chamber. When Johnny heard the distinctive noise of a round being chambered, he put down his shotgun and went to his son’s bed- room to talk with him.
Afterwards, Johnny went outside, sitting on the picnic table and crying. He told Becky, “Look, things at work are bad. Please stay with me, at least through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if things aren’t better after that, you can leave. I won’t stop you.”
Becky agreed to stay. By mid-January however, nothing had improved. She was getting ready for work and Johnny was telling her what sexual things he planned to do to her that night when she came home. Becky told him, “I’m leaving.” Johnny told her, “sure….in a pine box.”
Becky could take no more. She walked back to their bedroom, saw the shotgun behind the door, and picked it up. Becky knew that Johnny would try to stop her if she tried to leave. She knew she couldn’t shoot him while he was facing her, that he’d take the gun away from her. She walked back into the living room, aimed the shotgun at Johnny’s back while he was sitting in his easy chair, and pulled the trigger.
It was only after Johnny’s funeral that Becky confessed to killing him. She had reported his death as if she had come home and found him. The police knew better, but hadn’t gathered enough evi- dence yet to charge Becky. Becky felt the intense need to get through Johnny’s funeral. She wanted to be sure his funeral and burial was the way they had talked about. Once that was finished, she told the police everything.
Becky was subsequently charged and tried for Johnny’s murder. She was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in the Texas Department of Corrections. Their youngest son was only 14 years old and was sent to live with Becky’s sister out of state.
Living in Prison Although afraid of going to the peni- tentiary, once there Becky found that it was better than living with Johnny. At nighttime, she would be locked up and no one could come and rape her at gun- point and knife point. She was safe.
Three years into serving her sentence, Becky’s sister showed up unexpectedly for visitation. Becky was delighted, yet puzzled at the unannounced visit because her sister lived far away in
California . Her sister turbed. When Becky was wrong, her sister
was clearly dis- asked her what said, “I’m glad
you killed Johnny.” Becky was dumbstruck
. Here she
was, her family destroyed, Johnny dead,
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and her son living out of state, and her sister was glad that Becky had killed Johnny? Her sister related that her son, who was a bit older than Becky’s son, had gotten into some trouble with the law. Upon having counseling, her sister learned that Johnny had forced her son and Becky’s son to have sex with each other while Johnny watched.
Becky was sickened and outraged. She was so horrified and angered by this news that she wished Johnny were still alive so she could kill him all over again for what he had done to their son and to her nephew. Johnny had been dead for three years, and yet his actions were still haunting her and her family.
Life after Prison After five years in the penitentiary, Becky was released on parole. It was a cool day in January, only five months out of prison, when she found herself in front of over 100 police officers, plas- tered against the back wall.
Yet her story was mesmerizing. It was clear that Becky was still sad and remorseful for having killed Johnny, yet obvious she didn’t feel she had any other recourse.
Becky has since told her story to thousands of police officers, hoping that her situation would help officers under- stand what happens within a violent relationship. It is a hard story to tell, one that is embarrassing, horrifying, and disturbing to relate.
Once out of the penitentiary, Becky found a job, printing photographs from negatives. One customer would come in and flirt with her. He would call Becky at home, asking her out for a date. Becky always refused.
Darrell was speaking to Becky on the phone one evening, inviting her once more out on a date again, asking why she was refusing.
Becky told him, “Okay, I’ll tell you what. I’ll go out with you on one con- dition. You have to come to the police academy and listen to my story.”
Darrell said, “It must have been bad.”
She replied, “It was.” Darrell said, “Well, it isn’t like you were in jail or anything.”
Becky told him, “I was.” There was silence. Darrell said, “Well, at least it wasn’t for murder.”
“Yes, it was.” There was a longer silence. Darrell tried again, “At least you didn’t kill your boyfriend.”
Becky replied, “No, it was my hus- band.”
Yet Darrell did come out to the police academy and listen to Becky tell her entire heart wrenching story to the
He came back again also got the date he
After dating for five years, Becky and Darrell married. He has been her solid support and even encouraged her to cook eggs again. As Becky’s confi- dence grew, she would cook Darrell’s eggs, and intentionally break the egg yolks. Darrell would graciously eat the eggs without a complaint.
Update Since her release, Becky has worked with battered women shelters and help- ing victims of family violence find counseling and legal help. She is com- mitted to helping others who find them- selves in untenable situations like hers.
Becky has said, “No matter how often I feel that things are okay with me, there are still times when it pops up and hits me in the face. Some years are better than others. I have to talk it out, deal with it, and then go on. That is why I try to make sure all of my clients know that it gets easier, but it never goes away.”
Her son has never admitted to the sexual abuse. Counselors told Becky that with the perpetrator dead, her son might never deal with the abuse. He is now happily married and the father of three children.
Johnny’s two older children are believed to still live in Texas, but Becky and her son have limited contact with them.
The sister who took Becky’s son into her house has been widowed and is dating again. She remains close with Becky and her son. Her sister is also saddened as her own son, the one forced to have sex with Johnny’s son while he watched, has entered the state peniten- tiary for the third time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sergeant Sandy Kline, Retired Houston Police Department When Sgt. Sandy Kline (ret.) began the Houston Police Academy in Octobe , 1977, women had just begun wearing pants instead of skirts and riding patrol instead of a desk. She worked patrol for the next 12 years, mixing in additional duties and assignments such as field training office , State-certified crime prevention specialist, crime scene unit operato , and DARE instructor. Sgt. Kline spent a year working fulltime on the Houston Police Department’s hosting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in 1985. Since then she has worked on numerous conferences, the RMWLE being the most recent. In 1987 the Police-Citizen Positive Interaction Program she founded and ran was recognized by the Police Foundation as one of the 17 out- standing crime prevention programs in the country. In 1990, Sgt. Kline and another sergeant researched, proposed, implement- ed, and supervised the Family iolence Unit in the Houston Police Department, one of the earliest and still one of the largest units
of its type in the country. She has a BS in Criminal Justice from the
University of Houston, is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute, a federally-certified hate crimes traine , federally-certified domestic violence and community policing traine , and a trained mediator. Sgt. Kline retired in 2002 and now owns her own training and consulting com- pany where she continues to teach at con- ferences and at agencies across the country. A native Coloradoan, she is thrilled to be working with the RMWLE and see the next generation of policewomen take their place in law enforcement.
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