Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

Day in Court (Rhonda Furmanek)

Day in Court (Rhonda Furmanek)

Tue, 23 Aug 2022 07:00

A mom is murdered with her young girls in the next room. Now a witness, her 6-year-old daughter will walk into court more than once.

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. Did you know that your friend had reached out to us? Yes. She reached out to me and told me how obsessed she was with your podcast and asked if I would be willing to talk to you guys. And I said absolutely. I've always been an open book when it comes to my mother's story. What is your first memory? Of being in a courtroom. Walking down the aisle and being put on the witness stand. Having to look at the men who killed my mother. I've got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Belasi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. So I want to say I want to start off with a question to you. What do you think everyone's number one fear would be? Drowning. But I think that's because that's my number one fear, actually. It's interesting that you say that, and it's obviously understandable, but the number one fear for people is public speaking. Well, now I'm going to have to say no fair, no fair because since this is a podcast about homicide as soon as we're talking, but, you know, it's interesting that you talk about public speaking because I can completely get that. And even as you're saying it, I come back to the first time I ever spoken to a courtroom. I was so nervous that I knew I was talking. But it was like. Was watching myself from up in the sky like I just heard want want want want. So I shared that fear for a long time and for today's podcast you will definitely see how that relates to today's case. For today's story, we spoke with Kimberly Furmanik, and in speaking with Kimberly, I talked to her a bit about what life was like growing up in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is that bottom left hand corner, right it down by West Virginia, it's the rural area. Her mom was Rhonda, who grew up as one of three children. She was the oldest. She lived most of her life in Greene County herself, and the thing that stands out when speaking about her was her love of animals. There are lots of pictures with my mother with ducks, like baby ducks. And there was all these pictures of her with animals. By the time that she was in high school, Rhonda wasn't just caring for baby ducks anymore, but at that point came along an actual baby. My mother had me when she was in high school. My dad wasn't really involved. It was just me and my mom. For a few years that was the case, and then there was also another man in Rhonda's life. Ed Patterson was very close in age to Rhonda and the two had known each other since their high school years. I would say he probably came around into my life when I was around the age of three or four and that's when they got together. I do have pictures of them happy together. I mean him smiling and my mom like looking like she's on top of the world. You know, when they were younger, sitting on my grandparent's porch on the couch and my mom sitting on his lap with her arms around his neck and she's got this big grin on her face and he's smiling too. She looks. Happy. You know, we hear about Ed Patterson mostly through Kimberley's eyes, and when she thinks of him, she thinks about him primarily from photographs. The only good memory I have, we were at a department store and we were at the claw machine, and he won me a troll, and it had a gem in its belly and I was just over the moon with it. I so remember those little troll dolls, and they actually kind of freaked me out. It was a bigger troll, too, in a wedding dress on. I was just so happy that he had won that for me and soon that House of three became a home of four with the birth of Kimberly's sister. I've never really told anyone this. So when I graduated from preschool, after we got our diplomas, we have flowers for our parents. And I remember my mom walking up and she had on the blue dress and white pumps like heels. I just remember thinking myself and my mommy is so pretty, and she came up and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and that means a lot to me. She was my world. Hearing Kimberly talk about her mom, some of the words that come to my mind are just smitten and just someone that she looked up to from the first memories she has. There's a fair. It's the oldest continuous fair in the country. And in 1986, my mother was fair queen, but I wanted that title just like my mother had to be the queen of of that fair. You know, you're kind of royalty, really. When you're at the Fair Queen, you are put on a pedestal for the day, and when you hear about Rhonda, you're going to agree that's exactly how she should have been treated her entire life. But that was far from the case, especially when it came to her relationship with Ed. I think there were red flags from the beginning. Ed had asked her to go for a ride down the road with him because they had been fighting and he wanted to talk. At one point my mother got out of the truck and he dragged her by her hair while he was still driving the car and she was outside of it. She got away from him eventually and then that's when I came along and I don't remember when they got back together or how that happened, but he, you know, was back in my life and never really cared for me very much. Yet no matter what happened, her mom and he continued to get back together over and over again. Really, he did work. He would do things like roofing, construction and that type of thing. My grandfather helped get him a job. He was a great worker, would work great for a couple of weeks, but once he got that first paycheck, then he just didn't show up anymore. Rhonda was always known as someone who wanted to help anybody she could, and Kimberly believes that's one of the things that drew her mom and Ed Patterson together. So I really don't know how they they got by, but there was always food in the fridge. And you know, we had a roof over our heads and I remembered my mom dropping a check off to the landlord. And I mean, the check had her name on it. You know what certainly seemed like there was a lot of love in her home between her and her mom and her little sister. They certainly had a difficult life. At some point he moved us into a rundown farmhouse that had no electricity, and it was out in the middle of nowhere. The arguments between Ed and Rhonda became more frequent, followed by him disappearing for days. I think they broke up and got back together so many times, but they got back together again and we moved into the trailer. I know Ed lived there with us at a certain point and then he would disappear a lot. I think about that relationship in terms of like this maze with no clear escape, you know, you think that you see the light and you know the way out, but all of a sudden there's something enticing by another pathway. So you turn back in and in the end, you are now back into that darkness inside. And it got so bad that Rhonda filed what's called a PFA. That's a protection from abuse order, like a restraining order. We don't call them that here, but that's kind of what it is. But she had that and filed for divorce. At that point, she thought she had finally gotten out into the light, but that wasn't going to be the case. He didn't take the news well. He was of the mindset. If I can't have you, no one can. He wasn't going to let her out of the marriage easily. We're going to October 23rd, 1994. Rhonda and her two children are alone in the trailer. It is a remote area. Greene County is a place in the middle of nowhere, and you really get no cell phone reception when you're down there. Houses are further apart. You know you can't go outside and stand on your neighbor's porch when you step out the door. It's pitch black, it's late at night, 2 little girls are asleep in their beds and their mom, Rhonda, is in her bedroom too. The trailer was set up that when you walked in, you're we're kind of in the living room. And then the first door on your right was where my sister and I where our room was, and it was a pretty big room, and then my mom's bedroom in the back. You can imagine that Rhonda was probably getting peaceful sleep not having to worry anymore about her abusive boyfriend Ed because he was out of Rhonda's life and legally he wasn't even allowed to be near her. She was just done and had stopped even answering phone calls from him. But as we know. Is often different things that are the match that lights the fire and that anger just can't be controlled. So now let's look at it from Kimberly's perspective. I don't remember what woke me up, but something woke me up. I saw Ed walking up and down the hallway. Kimberly is just six years old, and as a child she may not know everything about Ed, but she knows enough what's right and what's wrong and what's normal and what's bad. And to her, Ed was bad. And this situation was very very wrong. I know that I heard them arguing at one point, and then I guess I heard him hurting her, if that's how you want to describe it. I can't describe the sounds that I heard, but I I did hear things. There was a back door on the trailer and he opened it and was throwing big black garbage bags outside. We do want to warn you there is some graphic depiction of violence and sexual assault that we tell you as part of the necessary story, but if you need to skip over, please feel free. I heard. As he was assaulting my mother. The average size of a trailer home back in the 80s was just over 1000 square feet, 1000 square feet. The children could hear almost everything that was going on. But I didn't get out of my bed. I stayed there and tried to get my sister to be quiet because I I was afraid. And all Kimberly can keep thinking and saying is trying to ask her little sister quite quiet. And my sister was standing up in her crib and she was just crying and screaming. Mommy. Mommy. But it doesn't take long before this little 6 year old child also realizes that if they can hear Ed, he can likely also hear them too. I remember saying, Mia, please just lay down, but she wouldn't, no matter what I said, he had to know we were awake. I didn't want him to come in and punish us for her being loud or something or annoying him while he was in there, you know? I didn't want him to hurt us. I wanted him to just leave, and I thought that if we were just by it, he would just go. And then the beating stopped. The next thing the children witnessed was their door being slowly opened, and the image of what they saw next will forever be burned into their memory. The next thing I remember, my mom is running into our room. My sister and I's room. Her clothes are all ripped. Her panties are ripped. She was actually pulling them up and she was coming in the room. She had blood all over her face. She asked me if I was OK and I started crying. I mean, my mother looked like she was scary. It was scary to see that much blood all over her. She couldn't call 911 because the girls would later learn Ed had ripped out the wires. She got me and my sister, and we went outside and she told us to stand on the porch and she'd be right back. She got a baseball bat and she went around the trailer with it. And she walks around their home to make sure that he was nowhere nearby to protect her children. It just resonates with me. Like even after being raped and beaten to a pulp, pretty much my mother was still willing to get a baseball bat and make sure he wasn't there. She was going to protect my sister and I as much as she could, and I admire that from her so much. Playing the victim here but realizing that her children were likely already suffering, all I can think about is Rhonda as this fearless lioness who is clearly wounded badly outside and in, but that she is still going to protect her Cubs and do that with everything in her she did. Rhonda and her two daughters fled to a neighbor's house, fearing that Patterson would return. There was a neighbor that lived across the driveway. We ran over there and we were beating on the door and the neighbor didn't answer. So then we had to walk up the road a little further. But we knocked on the door and that person came to the door and she's like, really Rhonda? Like, my kids are sleeping when she first opened the door. And then I think when she saw my mother's face, I remember us going in the house. And that's when my mom called 911. A short time later, her mom took her to the hospital while the kids stayed with the neighbors. My grandmother went to the hospital with my mom, and I just remember crying for my mom. I wouldn't go to sleep. And the neighbor was like, it's OK, honey, she's at the hospital, you know, she'll be home. And that's all I really remember from that night. We want to play you this specific next bit, just an example of how deep scars of domestic violence are. And for many, those scars just never heal. It was a local hospital that my mom went to, and to this day, my grandmother still can't go well, she's been in it, but she doesn't like to go in that room, that trauma room. She remembers how my mom looked when they were in there and everything because the hospital hasn't changed much. It still looks the same. And the nurses over the years have realized that, and they needed to put her somewhere. And that was the only room they, you know, tried to do their best to keep her away from it. So it is pretty clear that these domestic violence assaults are an epidemic in this country. And in talking about these cases, we often use the word triggering, and I think it's worth exploring the meaning here a bit more. A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma. Sometimes they're predictable, like a war veteran experiencing flashbacks watching a violent movie, or a victim of a sexual assault finding themselves in a similar type of building or location to where their assault had occurred, leading to a panic attack. For Kimberly and her family, several situations triggered those horrible events. I don't know how long she was in the hospital. I know that she was pretty beaten up and bruised and scary looking. Afterwards, my mom came and stayed at my grandparents, too. Now, we didn't move out of the trailer, but we stayed with my grandparents for quite a few weeks because I remember my mom had decided she wasn't going to let him run her life, and she went back to the trailer because I didn't want to go back up. There I was afraid, she said. Kimmy, your sister and I have been up here for a week and nothing's happened. We're fine. You'll be fine. Just come home, you know? So I don't know if I agreed or if I was just made to go home, but I eventually went back up. I certainly am a believer that certain things, it's not just emotional response, it's almost a physical response that we get. It's the type of thing that maybe, you know, when they walked back into the room or even that trailer where this occurred, that it could just make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. You know that when your stomach drops and you are just sick and you don't know why. And it's unfortunately one of the aftermath effects that some people who survived these assaults, both personally and because of their loved ones, are the actual. Victims in all of this that they live with for years and sometimes the rest of their lives. I eventually went back up. I couldn't even be in any of the rooms alone. I remember one time sitting in the bathtub just crying and yelling for my mom. Please, like don't leave me alone. Like I didn't want to be left alone in that trailer. My mother, she couldn't sleep in the master bedroom anymore because that's where the assault occurred. So she would would actually sleep out on the couch in the living room. Ed Patterson was a wanted man. Investigators had clear and convincing evidence of a violent assault, but Patterson was also in clear violation of the very restraining order put in place to keep him away from her. Went on the run and the police didn't look too hard for him. My grandmother always talks about how there's this one instance where my mom was standing in the kitchen and my gramma's house and she said to the police officer on the phone, does he have to kill me before you'll do anything? She wasn't going to just rely on the police to find Ed. She went looking for him. I mean, the baseball bat was in the car. She used the one that found him and let the police know where he was hiding out. Police did locate Ed hiding out at another woman's home. They picked him up and he was supposed to have a hearing. I don't know what type of hearing it was supposed to be, but my grandmother said that when they brought Ed in the room and handcuffed my mother, who was this feisty, outgoing, take no crap from anybody. Woman was so terrified and started crying and shaking and turned into this meek kind of like. A child again. My Graham said she was just terrified. Don't, please don't let him get to me. And my heart just breaks because I can only imagine how scared of him she was after what he had done to her. You know, often we talk about the next steps from arrest to trial and then that's it. But it is always so much more than that. You know, there is things like grand jury proceedings, sometimes preliminary hearings. You have multiple court appearances, motion practice, which is legal papers arguing various things going back and forth. All of this can take months, sometimes many years. But then after that hearing there is going to be another one. You know, go through the case, file out and see. I was thinking to myself that when Ed Patterson left Rhonda's trailer, he may not have realized whether she was alive or she was dead. He thought he killed my mother that night. That was his every intention. That Ronda is actually alive and he realizes now that she will be the prime witness against him. I just come up with the word angry that I'm betting he was seething as how he is 1 now on the inside of a jail cell and that she is out walking around, not remorseful for what he has done to her for one moment. On December 1st, 1994 the case against William Edward Patterson was going into court and Rhonda was going to testify. Rhonda had suffered at his hands on so many occasions. This was going to be her opportunity to hopefully take the stand and stand up to him for the last time. But Rhonda Formanek would never get the chance to testify. And not because she wouldn't, but because she couldn't. The night before she was supposed to be in court. This happened. I remember being in bed and being woke up. And I can only assume it was because the door was broken into. So he knew that the person actually breaking into her home couldn't be because he's already in police custody. So then the question is, who was it that went to her home? Because, like I said, my mom was sleeping on the couch because she couldn't sleep in the master bedroom because of what had happened back there. And I just remember being woken up. And my mother, I remember hearing her scream. Who are you and what do you want? And then she just screamed. And that was the last time I heard her. And I heard sounds that I can't describe. And I could hear them moving around. I jumped up out of bed and I got in my closet and I, like, crouched down on the floor. And I remember thinking to myself, Oh well, there, they'll find you in here. So then I got back in bed and I guess as little children do, I put the blankets over my head and I tried to hold my breath because I thought, well, if they come down the hallway and I'm under the blanket and I'm holding my breath, they won't be able to see that I'm under here. I fell back asleep at some point. But something told Kimberly she needed to step out of the room. And she decided to walk out into the living room. First thing she noticed was a friend of her mom who was standing next to the couch. She was standing next to the couch on the phone with 911. And the woman on the phone is pleading with her. Go back to bed, Kimmy, go back to bed. And I said no. I had on a little pink nightgown and I believe it had strawberries all over it. I remember getting my sister out of her crib and we had to step over my mother to leave the trailer. And that same woman now put the girls in the car and took them down to their grandparent's house. I think my gram said something like not again. It said. Is she OK? And and the woman said no, I'm sorry she's gone. I remember there were big tall banisters like on her porch, and she just hit her head off of them a few times and just crying and screaming. Rhonda Furmanik was only 24 years old that night that she died. Probably she was stabbed 8 times, her throat was slit and they stomped on her head to make sure that she was dead, this female officer said. Do you know where your mommy is? And I said, oh, she said at the hospital and they said no, she's in heaven now. Yeah, and never forget being told that. You in all of this, people process things differently, but children in particular. So it's always do they even understand what's going on? And there's part of that you can even see in Kimberly, you know, while she gets to a degree that her mom is gone, hearing her talk about her reactions at the funeral, and there is almost this disbelief in that her mommy's never coming back. I don't think I really understood at this point, like what was really going on, because I remember my teacher being in line at the casket and I was like, come and see. Wait until you see my mommy. I don't know if I understood that she was never coming back at that point. Can you put yourself in that position? Can they understand that Mommy's not coming home ever again? But when you break it down simply like that, I think it really comes down to the lack of understanding of what the finality really means. I remember before everybody else came in, they took me in first and I asked, you know, why does Mommy have Boo boos on her hands? She tried to defend herself, but the knife got her hand, so she had those wounds. She had a scarf. One, because her throat was slit. She had on a rose pin that I had been trying for weeks to get her to unwrap because I bought it for her for Christmas at Santa's Secret shop and I kept asking her, mommy, please open this. I was so excited because, you know, I thought she was going to love it and she never got the chance to even see it. But on the other side of that, there was this really beautiful moment to me when she talks about the Rose pin that she had bought for her mom, that her mom refused to open until it was Christmas. And although she never got the chance in life, she was buried with that rose that had been given to her by her child. Kimberly wasn't just a homicide survivor, but also a homicide witness. And even at six years old, she may be the person that police need to rely on to solve who killed her mother. The police questioned me when they asked me if I knew who was in the house. Do you know who hurt your mommy? I said JoJo. JoJo, that's all I remember saying, was JoJo. Investigators have the name JoJo, but in this area in Greene County, everybody knows everyone. So those 4 letters only two syllables mean much more than we might think if it was somewhere else, because it was enough for police to quickly zero in on their prime suspect. Her name is John Fitzgerald Levine, but they called him JoJo and it didn't take long that they found out that JoJo was a good friend of Ed Patterson. JoJo looked up to Ed and basically if Ed said jump, the only thing JoJo will respond with is how high he, from what I understand, just idolized Ed, like put him on this pedestal and would do anything that Ed asked him to do. That's not where Kimberly's account of what happened ends. During that night, Kimberly woke up, walked out of a room to see what was happening. Walked out or seen him in some way because I was able to tell the police about him being there and she saw that there was another person there too, a woman. All through their on again and off again relationship between Rhonda and Ed Patterson. He would often disappear for days while it was because he was with another woman and her name was Tammy Jones. That was clear. That Rhonda knew about this other relationship and not only knew about it, but that it was. Ed would almost Yoyo back and forth between these two women. I think she just knew because in the years prior, Tammy had busted out her car windows, and I don't think Ed really hit it, honestly. So we know that it was never Ed Patterson who physically entered Rhonda's home, because we all know that he was in jail. And that's a pretty good alibi. It's about as strong as it gets. But now we know about this ongoing relationship he was having with another woman. So you start to wonder, was it that relationship? Was that the motivation for this attack? And so really had nothing to do maybe with Ed at all, and maybe it was the other woman. So you start to wonder, is it a jealous lover who is trying to get Rhonda out of the picture? You know, when I step back and look at the facts as they stand at the moment, I'm asking who would gain the most? Or Ronda being dead? And there really is 2 avenues to go, right? Ed Patterson would not want her alive if he was concerned about her testifying against him in that vicious sexual assault. And if Tammy Jones was in love with Ed and Rhonda was standing in the way, that's another avenue I would go down now. Kimberly would be asked to recall the. Events on the night her mother was murdered, could she ID the two people in the trailer on the night of the attack? Her answer was clear and decisive. JoJo Levine and Tammy Jones. I think Tammy is the one that actually did the stabbing now. She, I guess, testified something along the lines of she did do the stabbing, but JoJo had to help her because the knife was too flimsy. It was just a kitchen knife from my mother's kitchen and then they disposed of it in a Crick somewhere. And it didn't take long for them to arrest Tammy Jones. And when they arrested her, she agreed to talk. And she told them quite a story about exactly what this was all about. She had a plea offer very quickly. She was a cooperating witness, but offering up a deal to Jones wouldn't come with consulting with the family or would it? And Kimberly says she doesn't think her family was consulted at all. But I will say that we have to remember she was six years old at the time. And I don't know if they were consulted or not, but one thing that is clear. Is that they were not happy about this plea deal and that remains with them to this day. She got a gift. She really did. She essentially got away with murder, in my opinion, with the sentence that she served, but I don't think my family was ever satisfied with that because she only got 8 to 20 years. With the plea deal now in hand, investigators needed Jones to connect the dots. And if they were there, and clearly that's what they believed, it was likely that Ed Patterson was the puppet master and Jones would explain everything. She did say, you know, that Ed asked them to do this when they visited him at jail and they had conversations over the jail telephone. This all was orchestrated while he was in the Greene County Prison. And the thing about the motive is that it was not this textbook domestic homicide. It really was very separate from that. This was intimidation of a witness plus. It happened to be the same woman that he had attacked, and there was this domestic history between them. But the whole motive for this crime, the homicide, was that. So she didn't testify against him and make sure that he remained in jail for many years going in. The prosecution knew that basing these murder charges on just a 6 year old turning 7 to make an ID, that was going to be a difficult path, but now adding cooperation of a coconspirator somebody who was there. Someone who knew the plan before the murders carried out is powerful evidence. But they also had something else because they also had Kimberley's grandmother, Rhonda's mom, because she had seen Jones and Levine the day of the murder. My grandmother had been out shopping that day with my mother. They were at Hills Department store, Tammy Jones and John Levine. They ran into them there, and my mother just turned around to leave quickly. And my grandmother was like, what's wrong, Rhonda? And my mom's like, I just want to get out of here. As it turns out, investigators would learn the reason Jones and Levine were in the store that day. They were shopping for a ski mask and gloves to be used later that evening in the murder of Kimberley's mother, Rhonda. The DA went and got the receipts. They only purchased gloves and ski masks. And of course, Rhonda didn't know what they were shopping for, and if by chance she had seen and had no idea the what. But again, it's all about that corroboration. It's one brick on top of the other. Remember at the top of the podcast that I talked about people's biggest fears, the fear of public speaking? This is how it's connected to this case. Kimberly was a lot like her mother, feisty, willing to stand up for herself. But this was a whole other level of pressure, being a witness to your mother's murder and having to then walk into court, take the witness stand and testify. Murders don't happen often in Greene County and. Than they do 7 year old little girls aren't a witness to them that that are testifying. So I would always get so nervous. I'd be sick to my stomach before anything, like whether it was a college that had contacted my grandmother and I just talked or when they cold call on you and you're like on in the spotlight there. So I became shy in the respect that I didn't want to get made fun of and if I was quiet and nobody would make fun of me. Now put yourselves in her shoes. For a moment, about that fear of talking about that night, about that fear of being believed, that you remember things from that night when you were only six years old. On that witness, stand face to face from the people that are responsible for what she saw from murdering her mom and face them in a very public display. It's now time for Kimberly to take the stand and testify in court against Levine and Patterson, the same man that terrorized her so badly on the night she was beaten. She didn't want to say a word. And now it is up to Kimberly to find that voice, to find those words, and to face Patterson directly. I remember being nervous and scared. My counselor. I remember she walked me in the courtroom and I was holding. My grandmother says it was a doll, but I remember it being a white teddy bear, and I sat on the stand and held that. You know, working with child witnesses, I can only describe it as special because it is rewarding in a different way. But there's also this different pressure because, you see, and you feel their vulnerability. And I really think that when we work with them, whether it is investigators or certainly prosecutors, that it's almost like you want to protect them in this invisible bubble. Like, you know, I used to always say, hey, when you're in the courtroom, it is just you and me. We are going to pretend that none of these other people. Right there, you just look at me, you answer every question that is being asked of you and really that does work for many of them that hopefully they can find some comfort in, in that courtroom. Timid, and I was afraid because Ed was an abuser to me too. He was right there in front of me, so I was nervous about that. And it was just scary to not be able to have anybody sit beside me either. Kimberly overtook those fears and through the tears was able to walk the jury through the events of the night and the things that she had witnessed in the time leading up to her mother's murder. Afterwards, the district Attorney's office would honor Kimberly for the courage she showed throughout the entire event. They were going in the DA's office and then giving me a certificate and everybody hugging me and being happy to see me. That says something like this certificate is presented to Kimberly for me and for being an amazing witness. If I could say anything to my younger self, you're going to make it. There are going to be a lot of bumps along the way, and you're going to want to give up and you're going to want to give up, throw in the towel, but don't do that. It's going to be a rough Rd, but you'll make it. And when it was time for the jury to give their. Verdict a jury convicted Patterson and Levine of first degree murder and sentenced both to life in prison. So you may think this is where the story ends, but there's another big turn of events that you will not be expecting because this isn't the last time that Kimberly would enter this very courtroom. The one thing that stood out to me at the parole hearing is when one of the members asked my grandfather, do you want to make a statement? And my grandfather said yes, and I had never in my life seen him cry until that moment. He cried, he couldn't hold it in and he couldn't make a statement, and I think that was a statement in and of itself. Jones, who serves as a prosecution witness, pleaded guilty to 3rd degree murder and received an 8 to 20 year sentence. She was released on parole in 2003 after doing the minimum eight years. To this day I still feel that it's unfair, even knowing how the system works. I think it was extremely unfair and she was freely able to come back up here when she was on parole and we were never notified, so like I could have ran into her at the store. Many in the same situation feel like they're being re victimized by the system, that the system may have brought them some type of justice, but then a feeling of justice goes away when somebody who's responsible for the death of their loved one is back out into the population. So many things were not easy for Kimberly in the years after her mom's death. You know, there is this moment that Kimberly comes face to face not with Tammy Jones, but with her daughter. Tammy had an older daughter and I went to school with her. At one point she came up to me and said I'm glad my mom did what she did. So I don't know what made her say that to me and I also remember a teacher that I had because I think I refused to work in a group with her and the teacher pulled me aside and he told me you can't hold it against her, what her mother did. It's horrible that she would face that from the people that she looked up to her teacher and her teacher not to understand that there is some real pain here through the loss of her mother by a person's family member that she is in a group with. You know, you often terminate Scott the re victimization and this is just such a stark example of that. It's been a rough life, I will tell you that for sure. And just one thing after another. Kimberly's had to deal with so much in her life, and there are a few dates that will always stand out to her. October 23rd, 1984, the day her mother was assaulted. December 1st, 1994, the day her mom was murdered. And then there's November 14th, 2017. That's the day Kimberly stood in that same courtroom again, surrounded by the very same people who handled her mother's case. This is where the story kind of turns. And what led her to be standing in the courtroom on that day is because Kimberly went to law school, and then she studied hard and passed the bar exam, and on that day, she was being sworn in as an attorney. It all came full circle for me that day. All of it was driven by my mother's murder. I just wanted to do what I could do to keep the bad guys in jail. The ceremony would be held in the very same courtroom. Her mother's murder trial, which would bring her family justice recommending her to the bar, was one of the assistant DA's who handled her mom's homicide trial. I was nervous. I was never one to like, like big crowds or be the center of attention. And honestly, at that point I was still terrified to be in a courtroom. I didn't know how I was going to do public speaking because it just wasn't my thing. Kimberly had every intention to work for the very same district attorney's office who prosecuted her mother's case. From the time I knew, you know what a lawyer was and what a lawyer did, I wanted to be a prosecutor. But today, she's not a prosecutor. She's actually a criminal defense attorney. I mean, I literally did a wait what? You know, record scratch because I did not see that coming. I really expected to be that, you know, when I heard that she was in a criminal law, that she was landing in the prosecutor's office. But it's also such an interesting story and to show that we never know where our paths will lead. When I was interning, when I was waiting on my bar results and his assistant public defender had just left to go to another county. There wasn't like she had some ideological change of heart. You know, she wanted to be a prosecutor. She thought she was going to land in that office. But when they didn't hire her, quite honestly, she'll say she needed the job. And it was another attorney who approached her. And that attorney was actually one of the public defenders who had represented one of the people in her moms murder case. I remember Harry calling me in his office and sitting me down and saying, do you want to be a public defender? I sat and I thought about it. And I mean, I said, yeah, yeah, Harry, I want to be all. I'll try to do better, you know? And it was even a year after that that my mind finally let go of that prosecutorial mindset. And not completely. I mean, I still sit here today and I tell my clients I'm all for it. Eviction. As long as it's a good one, make sure it's one that you as a prosecutor are proud to stand behind. Because some cases, even though there's a conviction, if I were the DA, I wouldn't want to stand there and be like, look at this conviction I bought because it wasn't done right. Criminal defense attorneys do play a significant role in the process of guilt or innocence, and without them, true justice in a courtroom could not happen. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, even criminal defendants, they all should be striving for the same goal, and that's justice. You know, some people have such a hard time wrapping their head around being a criminal defense attorney, and I'm going to admit I was one of them. I came out of law school and there was only one thing I wanted to do. And when I was going, you had to do an internship in law school, and I said, I'm just want to be in the prosecutors office. Well, my professor put me in legal aid and I was like, you made a mistake. I want to go to be a prosecutor says exactly right. That's why you're going to go work with the defense and understand the important role that they have. And it was the most valuable internship I ever did because not only did I have a newfound respect for that role. But I understood each role that we have in the system and I really do think that Kimberly's words ring true. While we may be adversarial in nature, we all should have the same goal and that's justice. And we all are important COGS in the wheel. I fully stand behind that quote. I'd rather see 10,000 guilty men walk free than one innocent man sit in prison. A few years ago, Kimberly was able to meet her mom's high school sweetheart as he was coming to town on business and they got together for lunch. Growing up, Kimberly would always hear her mother, Rhonda, talking about this man and how she wished it had worked out because they really loved each other. They did great things together and they were always laughing. Kimberly thought for a moment. What would life had been like had these two stay together? You know, today's story is the story of Rhonda, yes. But is also the story of so many others left in the wake of murder, the children, the parents and and what they endure after these crimes occur. In this case, we have Kimberly and her sister and what they had to live with every day after the attacks. And, you know, I remain overall an optimist. And I think part of that is hearing people like Kimberly speak because while not knowing her, other than the interview, I'm so proud of. All that she has done, you know, the poise and the strength that she shows when she speaks and all that she has accomplished in the wake of such devastation. And all of that is also another way of honoring her mom. Rhonda furmanik. You may remember in the beginning of this episode, Kimberly talked about how her mom was fair queen and how Kimberly had a goal to also be crowned Fair Queen, just like her mom. Well, she did go on to earn that title. And in 2006, I became fair queen and we were actually the first mother daughter Queens. I just wish she would have, you know, been able to be here for that. Kimberly's Journey is a story worth sharing because through incredible darkness, there is light on the other side, persevering and giving back. We wanted to let all you out there listening know. The morning after this episode dropped, an article was brought to our attention that Kimberley's currently charged with a crime of felony having to do with her letting a former client of hers listen into a phone call while she was now speaking to that inmates new attorney. And the wrinkles continue to fold because it's alleged that she was having a relationship with this former inmate. And we wanted to bring it up to you because it's kind of been our ethos with AOM, whether it is triumphs or tiers or bumps, bruises that we want to be open and acknowledge these things. You know? She, like anyone else we profile and AO is innocent until proven guilty. But none of it takes away from Kimberly's journey as she herself entered into the profession, into the criminal justice system. At the end of the day, we tell this story because of Rhonda. This is Rhonda from Manic story through the eyes of her daughter. And before we go today, I want to refer back to Anna Segal's interview with Kimberly, because when I was listening to it right at the end of the interview, Anasia pauses, asked her a question, and Kimberly gives this incredible answer. If you could talk to her now, what would you tell her? I would just thank her. Honestly, I would thank her for being the mother that she was and being the motivation that got me through life and got me through law school and. Turned me into the woman that I am today. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. The murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Forseti Media. Ashley Flowers and submit David are executive producers. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve? Umm.