Marsy’s Law for Montana Releases Second Television Advertisement, “My Life”
Chuck Denowh: 239-5952
Marsy’s Law for Montana releases second television advertisement, “My Life”
(Helena, Mont.)—A new television spot in support of CI-116 features two Missoula-area women who were abused by the same offender nearly a decade apart. According to one of the women, if Montana had had Marsy’s Law, she may have been able to prevent the abuse of the second victim.
The advertisement can be viewed here.
“He strangled me and tried to kill me. When I came to, there were five cops in my bedroom and Terry was in handcuffs,” said Debra Ricci who lives in Missoula. “They charged him with attempted deliberate homicide, and I thought that was the end of it; that he went to prison. I had no idea that he pled down to a misdemeanor and was out of jail in a few months.”
Debra’s attacker, Terry Flowers, went on to find his next victim, Patty Walters of Hamilton. They lived together a few years before the abuse began, culminating in a severe beating and strangulation that nearly left Patty dead as well. Terry placed her unconscious body in a shallow grave outside their home, but she was able to escape when he left her unattended.
“The criminal justice process didn’t work for me,” Ricci said. “I should have been informed that Terry was entering a plea deal and that he would be let off with a slap on the wrist for the horrible crime against me. I would have told the court what a dangerous man he was and that they shouldn’t accept the deal. And if I’d know he was let free, I could have warned other women about him.”
Flowers entered a second plea agreement for his attack on Walters, reducing it to a misdemeanor charge. But a subsequent arrest for drug possession eventually put him in prison for ten years. Today, both women are still dealing with the aftermath of the crimes against them.
“It’s so hard to get your life back together after a horrific attack like this. You’ve got PSTD, which affects every aspect of your life. I lost my job and I lost my home.” said Walters. “And on top of all of it you’re expected to navigate the complicated criminal justice process on your own.”
Marsy’s Law for Montana, CI-116, would empower crime victims by requiring that they be informed of all proceedings in their case, including plea agreements, as well of notifying victims of an offender’s release. Furthermore, Marsy’s Law requires that victims be given an opportunity to be heard by the court in proceedings and to confer with prosecutors.
“Marsy’s Law would have made a difference for me,” said Walters. “Debra and I were connected because we both had violent crimes committed against us by the same man. Had Deb been given more information in her case, we may have been able to connect before my abuse started.”
The television advertisement featuring Ricci and Walters begins airing across Montana today. It is the second advertisement released by the Marsy’s Law for Montana campaign; the first featured an endorsement by United States Senator Steve Daines.
Recent polling shows a strong majority of Montana voters support Marsy’s Law. The poll, conducted in July, had 75% of voters saying they would vote for CI-116 and only 12% against.
Marsy’s Law for Montana is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Ann Nicholas. Marsy was a beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after Marsy was murdered, her mother Marcella and her brother Nick walked into a grocery store after visiting her daughter’s grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea that he had been released on bail.