Monday, June 05, 2006

Beyond Our Imagination

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Photo from the Washington Post

Yvette Cade, pictured above, heard the verdict she was hoping for. Below is an excerpt from the Washington Post article "Man Who Set Woman Afire Gets Life in Prison":
"Roger B. Hargrave exercised his right to remain silent before a Prince George's County jury when he was tried and convicted in April of trying to kill his estranged wife by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire....

"In a barely audible voice, Hargrave, 34, apologized to witnesses to the assault. He apologized to Cade's family. He said he was sorry for Cade's condition and prayed she would accept his apology. He said he had become a Christian and hoped to counsel victims of physical and emotional abuse.

"'I still can't figure out what I thought I was doing,' Hargrave said. 'I'm sorry for the pain I've caused. I can only explain my actions as that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.'

"Circuit Court Judge William D. Missouri was unmoved.

"'You never once said I am sorry for what I did to my wife,' Missouri told Hargrave. 'You said I'm sorry for what happened to her. You're avoiding responsibility for what you did.'

"Because of his actions, Cade will suffer the rest of her life, Missouri told Hargrave.

"Missouri then handed down the unusually stiff sentence....

"When [Yvette] Cade was given the opportunity to speak yesterday before Hargrave was sentenced, she stood and said she couldn't think of anything else to say. She asked people in the packed courtroom to bow their heads and close their eyes, then recited the Lord's Prayer.

"During a brief news conference outside the Upper Marlboro courthouse after yesterday's hearing, Cade, who is divorced from Hargrave, praised the sentence.

"'With this sentence issued by the judge, I finally feel safe from him,' Cade said in a prepared statement.

"She said she had thought the protective order she obtained against Hargrave in July would help protect her, adding that she believes she was made vulnerable when it was rescinded.

"Although she did not mention him by name, she was referring to an action by District Court Judge Richard A. Palumbo on Sept. 19, about three weeks before the attack, according to court records....

"State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, who helped prosecute the case against Hargrave, said Hargrave would probably be eligible for a parole hearing in about 15 years. Even if he were to get a hearing and persuade the parole board to recommend his release, he would have to get the governor to sign off on it, Ivey said.

"During yesterday's hearing, Assistant Public Defender Gary Ward told Missouri that most of Hargrave's troubles with the law stemmed from his abuse of alcohol and drugs. Hargrave began using marijuana on a daily basis at 12 and began drinking daily seven years later, Ward said."
For months following the brutal attack on October 10, Yvette Cade's story has been a leading story in the local news and has made national news as well. What she suffered, as well as what she continues to suffer, is beyond the imagination for most of us.

Have you ever met a burn victim, up close and personal? Some years ago, I spent a few hours with a child who was such a victim. His careless mother squirted lighter fluid onto smoldering coals on the barbecue grill, and the four-year-old boy was engulfed in flames from the waist up. I saw him some six months after the event when my husband went over to the house to visit on a business matter. This beautiful little boy looked like a lizard. And the smell! I can't describe it, nor can I forget it.

Putting on my teacher's poker face, I sat down with him and played a board game while my husband and the boy's father chatted about business. Perhaps an hour went by. I breathed through my mouth, as unobtrusively as possible. To this day, I don't know how I managed not to let that little boy see on my face the horror which I felt.

Of course, the time came for my husband and me to go home. Before we left, the boy cried, "Wait! I have something for you." He then ran to his room and returned with his fist clenched, hiding the treasure. He handed me a $20 gold piece. "This is for looking at me," he said. Reflexively, I reached out to hug him, but he flinched away. I took the gold piece and, on the sly, returned it to his father.

That little boy is all grown up now. He's married and has a son of his own. In addition, he's a very prosperous financial advisor and CEO. But the scars are still there, even after multiple plastic-surgeries. Not long ago, I asked him if he remembered that day he paid me to look at him. He doesn't. But something of the memory must remain with him because we are on a first-name basis, even though in the course of some twenty-five years, we've seen each other only three or four times.

Being a burn victim is a life sentence, both physically and emotionally. I've seen that truth in my financial advisor's eyes. And a few days ago, I again saw that truth on television when Yvette Cade gave her statement to the media.

14 Comments:

At 6/05/2006 3:52 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

I've smelled that scent before in the ER. You're right; it is hard to describe, and impossible to forget.

One that sticks with me was a baby, eighteen months or so, who was in the kitchen when her parent's old pressure cooker exploded. The baby's face was covered on one side with a huge, pus-filled sack, and numerous smaller ones spotted over the rest of her body.

Her parents looked on, seemingly unconcerned, as we applied cold compresses and antibiotics. I don't know if they didn't really care, or if they hadn't yet grasped the severity of what had happened.

We transfered her to Shriner's. I hope she's doing better.

 
At 6/05/2006 5:14 PM, Blogger F.B. Jones said...

I am opposed to life in prison for some people. He is one of them. He needs a punishment that fits his crime.

I can only pray this woman has a man in her life that can see past the scars and help her heal inside.

 
At 6/05/2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Brooke,
I once observed an autopsy of a burn victim--well, as much as I could stomach. That smell was different, and I couldn't eat barbecued ribs for months.

An infant with such burns? I cannot imagine the psychological impact.

F.B. Jones,
Hargrave stated in court that he's now a Christian, but his lack of compassion for his ex-wife infuriated the judge.

I rather imagine that Yvette Cade is alone now. Taking care of herself is a full-time job. What amazes me about her is her lack of bitterness, though she is, of course, terrified of her ex.

It is amazing that Yvette Cade survived the attack. She must have a strong will.

 
At 6/05/2006 6:04 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

It is very hard to imagine how a person can do such thing to another human being.
I hope he'll die in jail.

I also know a person who was burned pretty badly when she was little.
As you said, it's for life.

 
At 6/05/2006 7:05 PM, Anonymous the merry widow said...

There was a girl I was in elementary and middle school with, who was caught the same way by an exploding pressure cooker full of beans. Her parents got her hospitalized immediately, which helped minimize but not eliminate the scarring. I never used one of those things, nor would I have one in the house! Scared the bejeebers out of me!
Living with the knowledge that someone is deranged enough to do that to you, would have a horrendous effect on the psyche! My heart goes out to her, G*D be with her!

tmw

 
At 6/05/2006 8:32 PM, Anonymous Mustang said...

A few years ago, there was a program aired on ’60 minutes that addressed the treatment of women in India. Apparently, in one situation, a husband was incensed that his wife had the audacity to give birth to a female child as their first-born. The husband went to the hospital, doused his wife with gasoline, and set her on fire. She was severely burned, but survived. The husband wasn’t charged because, as her husband, he had the right to do with her what he wished.

We live in a sick, sick world.

 
At 6/05/2006 8:32 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TMW,
Hargrave wasn't mentally ill--at least not in the medical/legal sense. Apparently he was bent on destroying Yvette Cade's life. Well, he's managed to come quite close to doing so, and she faces even more surgeries.

Yvette Cade needs as much prayer as she can get!

 
At 6/05/2006 8:37 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mustang,
I remember that particular 60 Minutes, now that you've mentioned it. The story reminded me of Muslim honor-killings, which I first heard about in 1998 or 1999, when I was teaching world literature. Democracy Frontline often has such stories, but sometimes I can barely read them. What gets me is that the msm will not tell us much about the many women who are grievously suffering!

Yes, a sick world. It's depressing.

 
At 6/05/2006 9:19 PM, Blogger The Truth Hurts said...

AOW...

It's not depressing...There's a special place in Heaven for that woman...It'll be OK.

 
At 6/05/2006 10:38 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

What is it with men and rage?..burning a human..who can fathom that?

 
At 6/06/2006 7:01 AM, Anonymous the merry widow said...

AoW- I also remember a horrendous program on tv about "honor" killings in Brasil. It was all about how the machismo system protected the men who routinely burned with fire or acid thier wives and mistresses and the judicial systems throwing cases out of court because the men's "honor" was offended! It is very much a derangement of what G*D created for men and women! That this is so widespread around the world shows how sin sick we are! Shows how deeply depraved we are!

tmw

 
At 6/06/2006 8:22 AM, Blogger friendlysaviour said...

At least 15 years.Good. Arson and fire attacks are too leniently punished, and ignored at great peril.

 
At 6/07/2006 12:27 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Thank God every day that we live in America - every day now! Dang. That man should be burned alive though. Atleast he is being punished for what he did and not validated in any way by the legal system.

Yvette will heal and I hope that she is given the grace and strength to heal in a beautiful way.

My mother was burned as a child - with a sparkler that caught her shirt on fire. I have a weird thing about fire and have about 15 smoke detectors in my house and several fire extinguishers. (I can't deal with those pressure cookers either...)

 
At 6/25/2006 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless Yvette, I think your a beautiful lady inside and out. It takes a real person to tell their story to the public. More people need to be like you stand up for what they believe and tell their stories than maybe some laws can be passed to protect victims from being abuse. I feel that women are victims of crimes everyday and nothing is done to protect women from being stocked, raped, and even murdered. I find that maybe one woman standing up might show the justice system that women are being abused everyday and the attacker just get off for good behavior not prosecuted because their enough evidence to convict them from harming another person until its to late. God bless you Yvette and your family

 

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