VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT:
Indiana man sentenced to 17 years for stalking ex-girlfriend after standoff, gunfire with Will County Sheriff’s Deputies
In 2007, my relationship with Richard Petrick ended. In September of 2009, I received a phone call from Richard Petrick and he stated something very, very bad was going to happen to me. I wouldn’t know where or when but something very bad was going to happen to me. Richard Petrick was a man of his word that day.
I immediately called the police and was told to go to court the next day and get an emergency order of protection. I received that order the next day. From that moment on I lived in fear. I feared what he would do when he was served with the order of protection. When he was served I found out that Richard and I would have to attend court together in order for me to keep the order of protection. I was scared to death to face him. I brought my mom with me to court. Once we checked into the court room Richard Petrick tried to communicate with me. The Judge’s clerk told him he would have to leave me alone. Two more times he tried to approach my mom and me and then was escorted out of the courtroom by the Judge’s clerk and told not to come in until he was called in. After the Judge explained to Richard Petrick that he should not contact me in any way … he said he understood. At that point, the Judge dismissed the order of protection. As we walked away from the Judge, Richard sat down right next to me and started to try to communicate with me. The Judge then called Richard Petrick back up to the stand and let him know that she had just explained to him to leave me alone. She could see first hand that this was not going to happen and the order of protection was then granted. The Judge had my mom and I escorted to our car by a sheriff for safety purposes … keeping Richard Petrick in her courtroom until we left.
This behavior only cemented my thoughts that he would not leave me alone. I was always fearful for myself, my daughter and my mom. I was for once grateful that my son lived out of town. Always checking the car before I got in and constantly looking over my shoulder. For one whole year I didn’t drive with my car windows open, take my dog for daily walks (as I did before) or even grill out on my patio. I was too scared to be outside. While these things might seem trivial to some people … these simple things can be taken for granted when you go without them. The first time I took a long walk with my dog in the backyard … I cried with happiness. I felt free again.
Richard continued to call, e-mail and text me. Each time I would call the police and have a police report filled out. It was a constant reminder of his words, something very, very bad will happen to you … you won’t know where or when but something very, very bad will happen to you. He also called my mom asking her where I was and who I was with. She was terrified and I was terrified for her safety.
In February, Richard drove to my house, got out of his vehicle and started walking up my driveway. I immediately called the police. He left before they could get there. Again, I filled out a police report. While filling out the report, Richard drove by the house again. The police tried to drive after him but didn’t catch him. Later that evening, the police found Richard parked across the street from my house. He had two rifles, a BB gun, a knife, binoculars and what the police called an arsenal of ammunition. They arrested him. He was out of jail the next day. I was also informed by the police that he was staying at a nearby hotel before the arrest and again after he was released from jail. The police suggested getting an alarm system which I did. Now my daughter and I were in constant fear of him.
When I walked up the train platform everyday to go to work, I wondered if he would shoot me in the back today or, even worse in my mind, shoot innocent people. I have worked at the same place of employment for 30 years. I now had to tell my place of employment that I was afraid he might come to work. They notified security and our front desk. I feared for the people that I have worked with for 30 years … an extended part of my family. I wondered if he would hurt one of them or if he would be waiting for me outside my office to kill me. I was usually a very private person but now, for everyone’s safety, I had to let them know my personal business. The receptionists knew Richard’s voice and would tell me that he was calling them and asking if I was in. This was a daily occurrence.
Sometime in March, when I walked out my front door at 6:00 a.m., a car I did not recognize pulled into my driveway. It was Richard. I didn’t realize it was him at first because of the different car but was then able to recognize his face. I ran inside, called the police and filled out a police report. The very next day, as I turned the corner of my block, he was sitting in that same car, slouched down and he started following me. I drove straight to the police station. I was afraid to go to the train and afraid to go home. I didn’t know if he would be waiting for me or where I could be safe.
On the morning of April 9, 2010, I went to take the dog outside and when I opened the door I could smell cigarette smoke. While the dog usually darted outside … on this particular morning she stood still and didn’t move. I looked out and saw Richard Petrick hiding in the bushes. I ran back in the house and hit every panic button on my security alarm, medical, fire, police. At the same time I was trying to dial 911 on my phone but my hands were shaking so badly I just threw it. Within minutes I heard a loud explosion and then Richard Petrick was standing next to me, pointing a gun at me telling me he was going to kill me. All I could think of was that my daughter was sleeping in the other room. If I could only run out of the house … he will follow me and leave her alone. The whole time I ran to the door and down the front porch he screamed at me that he was going to kill me. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was going to shoot me in the back and I was okay with that … as long as my daughter would be safe. Just as I was running across the street the police showed up. The police officer raised his gun and ordered Richard to stop and drop his gun. Richard told the officer that he wasn’t the guy and wouldn’t put down the gun. My daughter then walked out the front door … we all screamed at her to go back in the house. She ran in and Richard proceeded to go around the back of the house and went back inside, where Christina was, through the patio door he had already shot out. My neighbors held me back as I screamed at the officer to shoot him because he was going to go kill my daughter. My daughter then appeared at her second floor bedroom window and the police officer told her to jump out of the second story window. She did and landed flat on her back on the hood of her car. She then rolled off and screamed for us to help her. She couldn’t get up and we all feared that Richard would come back to hurt her. Again, my neighbors held me back from going to help her and the officer couldn’t help her either. She finally crawled down the driveway and the policeman helped her up and she ran to me. I will never forget her screaming at me to help her and I was not able to do anything for her. I still wake up at night hearing her screaming for me. I jump out of bed and look all over the house for her. If she’s not there I call and call her until I can hear her voice and know she’s okay. It seems so real …but its not.
Richard then barricaded himself in the house shooting up the house and our belongings while in there … even taking the time to find a corkscrew open a bottle of wine and drink it. It seemed hours before we heard that he was finally arrested by police and taken out of the house. They had shot him. I now struggled with my faith … do I pray for him to die because it will bring peace to our family? We were just numb. Later that evening, when finally back with Christina and my family, I noticed that there was a voicemail message on my cell phone. The message was from Richard. In his message he stated, “I am going to die today. The police are going to kill me. I want to talk to you before I go. Please call me.” After all our trauma of the day, even with him being arrested, he still continued to haunt us.
My daughter was taken away by ambulance. She had two broken vertebrae, whiplash and a concussion. I couldn’t go with her in the ambulance because the police wanted me to go immediately to the police station after the incident. I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone either. After this emotional and physical trauma … I was not allowed to go with my daughter to comfort her (or have her comfort me).
We are now in financial ruin. My daughter did not have health insurance and, with her type of injuries, she needed to see specialists. They would not see her unless we first paid for the services. Doing what every good mother would do, I charged all her medical bills and prescriptions. We will NEVER, in our lifetimes, be able to pay all her medical bills. We also incurred substantial living expenses while we had to live in a hotel for 6 – 8 weeks after the incident. Our home incurred $11,000 in damages and we were unable to live in it until some damage was repaired. We had to pay a $500 deductible before they would even start. The damage to the house “physically” could be repaired but the memories that we now have there have left us without the peacefulness our home once had. We are forced to live in our home where someone stalked and tried to kill us. The construction started in April and wasn’t finished until September. The bullet hole in the wall being one of the last items fixed. We live with that now. With my credit, selling it and getting another place is not an option for us.
To this day, my daughter and I cannot pass by a tall, thin man, especially if he is smoking, without feeling anxious. Peace, comfort and security …the security of finding our home a safe haven was ripped away from us. We are both seeking counseling and are on anti-depressants as well as anti-anxiety medications. Concentrating and focusing is nearly impossible, even a year later.
I realize now that I will not let you into my thoughts anymore. You have been caught and you will be punished for your crimes. This will be the last day that I will look at you, and talk to you. After today you will no longer be a part of my memories. You will be erased from the face of this earth. After today, you will be non-existent to me, my family and friends, neighbors and everyone else that knows of you. I will never forgive you for what you put Christina, Nick, my mom, our family and friends through. People are here in this court room because of their love and support for Christina and me. You are here alone and will be alone for the rest of your life. I want you to know that once we walk out of the courtroom you will cease to exist to us. Totally forgotten.
I ask the Court to take this letter and my feelings into consideration. Thank you.