The Risk of Loving Me (TW suicide)
Please tell me this isn‘t real
when the only thing I can feel
is the need to leave.
I know I’m too fragile for this place
and I can see the concern on your face
Because I don‘t know if I’ll make it through one more day.
Do you ever get scared like me?
that the home we built, with lock and key
you‘ll open the door and there I’ll be
on the floor with the tile stained red.
Please don’t go, see this through
I know I can’t promise that I’ll be better soon
But my love for you is what keeps me here.
And I know it isn’t fair
that I put this weight on your shoulders, like I don’t care
that you have to see me fade this way.
But I want the home that we talked about
this is the one place where I have no doubts
The only future I see is with you.
One day I will be okay,
I’ll heal and you won’t be afraid that I’ll go away
we’ll look back on these times
and I’ll be happy that I’m yours and you’ll be happy that you are mine.
I grew up being tossed back and forth between my divorced parents. Majority of the time, I lived with my Father in Hawai’i. I would spend spring/summer break and holidays with my Mother in California. Because it is so humid in Hawai’i, when it rains, there’s no salient difference in the environment. But, in California, when it rains the strong, fragrant smell of the Earth is present. Petrichor is the name of that smell. To me, petrichor brings back the nostalgia of childhood. More innocent, simpler times. At the same time, it gives me hope that it is possible for life to be good once more.
The Tragic Death of Dannie Kim
**TRIGGER WARNING: Disturbing material, mentions of sexual assault**
This is my first attempt at writing a piece on a true crime case. I am thinking of maybe starting a true crime blog or something along those lines. Any feedback is appreciated!
Dannie Kim was born on April 25, 1965. At the age of 32, she was living in Walla Walla, Washington with her husband, Bruce Galbreath and her two young children. Dannie was always very close to her family and in 1997 she decided to visit her older sister, Miah Richey, at her home in Los Angeles, California. For Dannie and Miah this was a routine visit and gave them time for some sisterly bonding, doing such activities as Miah painting Dannie’s nails and spending the night at local casinos. Going to casinos was very typical of Dannie as she was a professional card player. She would often spend all night at casinos, usually leaving during the early morning hours. On December 16, 1997 Dannie drove her 1994 Chrysler LeBaron convertible to the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California at 10:56 AM, entering through the VIP parking lot. Miah would meet up with her sister at the casino at 3:00 PM. The two sisters played cards in the VIP area and at 11:00 PM, Dannie told Miah to “go home,” and stated that she would be “right behind her.” When Miah woke up the next morning and her sister was not home, she wasn’t worried as Dannie usually stayed at the casino late and would be so preoccupied with the game that she would forget to call. Miah tried to call her sister, but there was no answer. While Dannie was so focused on playing cards, having obtained chips amounting to $1,900 during her time at the casino, she did not notice the three men that were fixated on her throughout the night.
At 2:56 AM on December 17, 1997, a car entered the parking lot of the Hollywood Park Casino. In the car were Donald Ray DeBose Jr. (20 year old from Los Angeles, CA), Anthony Edward Flagg (22 year old from Inglewood, CA) and Carl Lamont Higgins (23 year old from South Gate, CA). The three men spent the night walking around the VIP lounge. Around 3:00 AM, the men stopped several times to observe Dannie as she played. At 3:50 AM Dannie cashed in her poker chips, exited the casino and started driving back to her sister’s house. The three men followed behind her in their car. Between 3:50 AM and 5:00 AM, it is assumed that the men ambushed Dannie and forced her to drive back to Inglewood in her car.
At about 5:00 AM, a woman by the name of Rosemarie Howard was in her apartment, located on South Osage Avenue, across the street from William H. Kelso Elementary School in Inglewood. Rosemarie heard the voice of a woman coming from outside, stating that she was “talking extremely loudly.” A few minutes later, Rosemarie heard five gunshots fired. Suddenly, an explosion was heard that shook her whole apartment building. This was estimated to have taken place roughly 15 minutes after the gunshots were heard. Rosemarie ran outside in a panic and saw a car that was on fire, parked on the street across from her apartment. She yelled at a neighbor to call 9-1-1.
A teacher at William H. Kelso Elementary school, Valerie Hutchinson-Gluck, arrived at work between 6:15 AM and 6:30 AM the same morning. While walking into the school, she noticed that there was a car parked near the school’s entrance and a man who was “wearing dark, baggy clothing” was seen standing outside of the car, leaning into the driver’s side window. Valerie thought it was strange that someone was outside of the school at such an early hour, but continued to walk to her classroom. As students started arriving in the morning, one of her students told Valerie that there was a car outside that was on fire and that a body had been found inside. Valerie soon realized that the car she saw parked outside when she arrived was the car her student was talking about. Valerie then went outside to speak to an officer who was at the scene to inform him of what she had seen.
At 6:30 AM, firefighters arrived at the scene, having received a report that a car was on fire on South Osage Avenue. The firefighters spent ten minutes putting out the fire, at which time they noticed the vehicle was a Chrysler LeBaron. Upon examining the vehicle and looking in the trunk, they found a woman who had third-degree burns and had been shot in the torso and left arm. Despite this horrific scene, the woman found inside of the vehicle was semiconscious. Paramedics were able to verify that the woman had a pulse and was breathing. She was rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital, Dannie’s right leg was amputated due to extensive damage caused by the fire. A sexual assault examiner named Chris McClung was able to look at Dannie while she was in critical condition, two days after the attack. McClung found abrasions, bruising, tears, redness and swelling within her vaginal canal and anal area. McClung came to the conclusions that the damages to her reproductive organs indicated that she was sexually assaulted. Although, he would admit that these injuries could also be consistent with renal failure and infection. No semen was found, which can mean several things. It was possible that the perpetrator used a condom during the assault, did not ejaculate, the amount of ejaculation was low or the damages were caused by a foreign object. They would also note that the sexual assault kit samples were collected after Dannie had been washed, which may account for the lack of physical evidence being present.
Meanwhile, Detective Craig Lawler of the Inglewood Police Department was able to obtain a copy of Dannie’s license by searching up her license plate number. Unfortunately, because of the extensive damages, Lawler was unable to positively identify the victim. Lawler was able to contact Dannie’s sister, Miah Richey, who was able to confirm Dannie’s identity on December 18, while she was in the hospital. Miah was only able to identify her by recognizing Dannie’s fingernails that she had painted earlier in the week. Lawler examined the vehicle and found a partially burnt poker chip from the Hollywood Park Casino. This led him to look at the surveillance tapes of that night, which showed the suspicious activity of DeBose, Flagg and Higgins. The three men became the main suspects in this case.
Five days after being brought to the hospital, Dannie would pass away as a result of her injuries. Dr. Lee Boohacker from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office performed Dannie’s autopsy. He would conclude that Dannie’s death was caused by multiple gunshot wounds and burns, which made up 50-55% of her body. Dr. Boohacker noted that the burn areas had a reddish color around the edges, indicating that Dannie was alive when she was set on fire. He also found that her clavicle had multiple fractures, which were not consistent with a gunshot wound. Dr. Boohacker would conclude that this injury was antemortem, meaning that the injury had taken place before Dannie’s death but after leaving the Hollywood Park Casino. Dr. Boohacker would also note that the irregular bruising and tears found in the reproductive organs were consistent with a sexual assault performed with a “large foreign object” or “repeated blows from a blunt object.” Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Michael Cofield examined Dannie’s car and confirmed that the fire was “intentionally set by the ignition of gasoline” and “originated in the right front passenger floorboard area.”
Officers would observe the Hollywood Park Casino from the surveillance casino room. On December 25, 1997, officers saw Donald DeBose Jr. enter the casino. DeBose would exit the casino and try to leave in the same vehicle that had previously been seen on the security footage. At about 4:00 AM, DeBose would be arrested in the casino parking lot. Police would later arrest Anthony Flagg and Carl Higgins. The trial against defendant DeBose and co-defendants, Flagg and Higgins, began in January of 1999. The possible sentence for Flagg and Higgins was life without the possibility of parole, but for DeBose, the possible sentence would be the death penalty. Why? Unlike his co-defendants, DeBose was charged with five felony counts of both first degree murder with special circumstances (robbery and the use of a gun) and attempted first degree murder and robbery from a second case.
Next week, I will discuss the trail of DeBose, Flagg and Higgins along with the attempted murder of Vassiliki Dassopoulos, which took place on December 23, 1997.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Is this better than being alone?
I tried to smother the flames
of the spark that ignited in my heart when I first saw you.
Afraid that you didn't feel the same
so I pushed you away
And you pushed back harder.
Cruel words masked the way our hearts screamed out
Begging one another to stay
Screams that would fall on deaf ears every time.
Our toxicity spread like a wildfire
The only warmth we could always feel
is the temporary love shared between us under the sheets
But is this love?
Every time I would leave my heart grew heavier with pain
We watched our flame burn any good intentions we may have had.
And we wonder why we keep crawling back to one another
If this isn't what we want, isn't what we need.
Because the truth my dear,
Is that loneliness is colder than the way he treats me in the dark.
So I will pick up the phone every time that you call.
I wish someone would have told me...
Take your time growing up.
Prioritize taking time for yourself to heal, explore and enjoy life if and when needed.
Protect your energy; don't waste it on anyone or anything that don't help you grow.
It's okay to be emotionally vulnerable. You are going to start seeing how much your past effects your present. It's not easy, but it is necessary.
Tell people you love & appreciate them as much as possible.
The world can be dark and life isn't always fair. Remember that there will always be more beauty to be seen.
Letting go of my grief is an impossible task
The heavy weight wraps wires around my heart
dragging my soul out of my chest every time I think of you.
How you illuminated every room you stepped into
Memories of driving down desolate streets in the dead of night
A temporary technique used to vanish reality
Only when dawn replaced midnight
Would we return
the grief and the guilt take turns toying with me
until I am nothing but a blank page stained by a speck of dark ink
Until the ink is absorbed into every atom of my being
I am consumed entirely
Forever wondering why it wasn't me
but you who had to leave.
Humans are Damage
We see the damage that humans do to nature every day. We see it in the gray smoke being pumped into the air from the factories, in the iridescent oil slick on top of the blue water, in the stray dog eating fast food scraps off of the concrete, in the sound of a tree trunk splintering and breaking, in the constant pacing of the animal who has been confined to a cage, in construction set to replace green grass with black asphalt, in the prevalence of another announcement that an endangered species is now extinct, in the piles of garbage that collect in land fills.
At the same time, we can see how humans do damage to one another. We manipulate, steal, abuse, neglect, violate, enslave and kill each other. We talk down to one another. We hurt people who then go on to hurt other people. We continue the cycle and pass trauma from generation to generation, never ending.
What humans have failed to realize is that nature is more resilient than humanity. Nature's cycle is one of destruction and rebuilding. A fire will burn down the forrest in order for the forrest to grow new luscious life. Humanity's fate has been sealed by the collectives' actions. Humans will be the cause of the end of everything we know. And nature will rebuild. The green weeds will slip through the cracks of the concrete. Vines will wrap around the deteriorating corporate buildings. Trees will grow through the asphalt that was meant to keep them out. Nature has inhabited this planet long before humans arrived and will be here long after we leave.
I Saw Your Light Go Out
I saw your motivation shine bright
The light gleaming in your eyes when you talked
about your family
about the ex you were still in love with
Who still loved you
about getting a new job
a new home.
I saw your pain.
Your light crackling like a fire now
Your body shaking
The strain in your voice,
The tears in your eyes when you weren't accepted
When all you ever wanted to be was loved.
I saw your light dimmer.
Nodding off in the middle of a sentence.
Sweat dripping from your face
Your body shivering
as you say
I want to stop
I don't need it
I'm not addicted
You screamed for someone,
And when that wasn't enough
You stuck the needle in your vein
and you drifted away.
I saw your light go out.
I found you, or an empty shell
where you used to be
The light in your eyes were gone.
The pain you had
no longer in you
But in me
And we all wonder what we could have done different
once it is too late.