It’s time to share some milestones of the past five years on my mission to help free five innocent men from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Life requires balance and this story combines both devastation and unyielding heroism. I believe that this must be THE story of the century with its ongoing twists and turns.
Bear in mind that I have no legal or marketing background but I seem to possess the ability to inspire and persuade others to buy books and lend a hand when needed. What took place as soon as my mission to aid five innocent men became clear, was crazy. People literally started showing up on my doorstep. And opportunities arose.
First miracle (2009): My sister, Clare, was dating and brought someone named John Gaie to our home to meet us. What stood out most about John was his having spent the past eight years doing research for a book about six men wrongfully convicted of murder back in 1995. I found the topic fascinating and shared my interest in reading it. I was captivated by the fact that one of the six had been exonerated but the others were still incarcerated despite being tried together in a joint trial. I also felt a deep connection to these men even though I didn’t know them. I had been bullied as a child and their circumstance seemed similar in nature. Many accusatory fingers had been pointed in my direction. I was called names and often blamed for things I didn’t do. What had happened to these people didn’t seem that different. Soon, John gave me a copy of The Monfils Conspiracy . From then on my life took on new meaning. I felt a greater purpose other than being a wife and mother. A space opened up in my heart for strangers…for a mission I knew I had prepared for all of my life. Not knowing quite what to do first, I started selling those books.
Second miracle (2010): I was at my mailbox one day as the neighbor drove up. He was carrying a passenger. It wasn’t just any passenger. It was someone who would end up being instrumental in advancing my mission. Johnny had a background as a private investigator with experience on many levels of law enforcement during the past thirty years. He was intrigued by my book pitch. He bought a copy, and insisted on paying for it even though I objected. I did so because I knew on that day that I had found THE guy to help me find legal help for these men. And together we formed the most unusual and unstoppable duo.
Third miracle (2012): It took two very long years but Johnny and I found an attorney that would take on this monumental case and commit to having it reopened. We had gone with our spouses to a Benefit hosted by the Innocence Project of Minnesota. Johnny ran into attorney Steve Kaplan while I was busy meeting Audrey Edmunds, a Wisconsin exoneree living in Minnesota. I learned Audrey was about to publish her own book. I offered to host a book signing for her and on the guest list was Steve Kaplan. Steve had experience with wrongful conviction cases and belonged to what I like to refer to as a big-ass law firm that could handle the finances! Sure enough, that book signing led to another meeting that would seal the deal….